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Full text of "The miscellaneous works of the Rev. Matthew Henry : containing in addition to those heretofore published, numerous sermons now first printed from the original mss. : an appendix on what Christ is made to believers, in forty real benefits, by Philip Henry ... : funeral sermons for Mr. and Mrs. Henry, by the Rev. Matthew Henry : funeral sermons on Mr. Matthew Henry, by W. Tong, John Reynolds, and Dr. Williams"

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r 


THE 

MISCELLANEOUS    WORKS 


OFTHI 


REV.  MATTHEW  HENRY,  V.  D.  M. 


CONTAININO 


IN   ADDITION   TO   THOSE   HERETOFORE   PUBLISHED, 

NUMEROUS     SERMONS, 

NOW  FIRST  PRINT£D  FROM  THE  ORIGINAL  MSS. 

AN  APPENDIX, 

ox  WHAT  CHRIST  IS  MADE  TO  BELIEVERS,  IN  FORTY  REAL  BENEFITS, 

BY  THE  REV.  PHILIP  HENRY, 

NEVER  BSFORE  PUBLISHED. 


ALSO 


A  PREFACE  AND  LIFE  OF  THE  REV.  P.  HENRY,  A.M. 

CORRBCTBD  AND  £NLAUG£D 

BY  J.  B.  WILLIAMS,  LL.D.  F.S.A. 


WITU 


FUNERAL  SERMONS  FOR  MR.  AND   MRS.   HENRY, 

BY  THE  REV.  MATTHEW  HENRY,  V.D.M. 

AHD 

FUNERAL  SERMONS  ON  MR.  MATTHEW  HENRY, 

BT  W.  TONO,  JOHN  REYNOLDS,  AND  DR.  WILLIAMS. 

IN  TWO  VOLUMES. 
VOL  II. 

LONDON  : 

JOSEPH  OGLE  ROBINSON,  42,  POULTRY. 

MDCCCXXXIII. 


•Mi's. 


*  • 


*  1 


/\ 


% 


GREAT  BRITAIN'S  PRESENT  JOYS  AND  HOPES ; 


DISPLAYED 


IN  TWO  SERMONS, 


PREACHED  IN  CHESTER. 


THE  FORMER  ON  THE  NATIONAL  THANKSGIVING  DAY,  DECEMBER  31. 1706.    THE  LATTER  THE 

DAY  FOLLOWING,  BEING  NEW- YEAR'S  DAY. 


Psalm  Ixt.  11. 
TAov  erownest  the  year  with  thy  yoodness. 

Among  other  feasts  of  the  Lord,  wbich  the  Jewish 
efaorch  was  appointed  to  observe,  (and  many  annual 
feasts  they  had  for  one  fast,)  one  is  called,  The  feast 
iff  in-yatherinff  at  the  end  cf  the  yeam^  according  to 
the  civil  computation  of  tiieir  year.  The  feast  we 
are,  this  day,  solemnising  with  joy,  in  commanion 
with  ail  the  religions  assemblies  of  onr  land,  being 
appointed  by  aotbority  on  the  last  day  of  the  year, 
according  to  the  vulgar  reckoning,  may  be  looked 
Qpon  as  our  feast  of  in-gathering :  in  it  we  appear 
before  the  Ijord,  in  whom  all  onr  joys  most  terminate, 
aod  to  whom  all  our  trophies  must  be  consecrated. 
Remember  therefore  the  law  of  those  feasts,  that 
none  must  appear  before  the  Lord  empty :  if  onr 
hearts  be  here  empty,  what  will  it  avail  os  that  our 
congregation  is  full?  It  is  the  soul  that  appears 
before  God :  if  that  be  empty  of  holy  joy  in  God, 
and  holy  concern  for  the  welfare  of  the  public,  which 
OQgbt  to  fill  us  on  such  occasions,  it  is  but  the 
carcass  and  shell,  without  the  life  and  kernel,  of  a 
Tbanksgiving-day. 

Let  this  feast  at  the  end  of  the  year  be  kept  to 
the  honoar  of  that  God  who  is  the  Alpha  and  Omeya, 
the  First  and  the  Last ;  both  the  spring,  and  the 
centre,  of  all  onr  glories.  As  we  must  begin  every 
day  and  year  with  him,  so  with  him  we  must  end 
both.  Par  of  Aim,  and  through  Aim,  and  to  him  are 
•H  things. 

Praise  is  waiting  for  God  this  day  in  our  English 
^n,  and  to  him  must  the  vow  be  performed;^ 
^he  TOW  of  thanksgiving  to  God  for  his  mercies  to 


the  land  of  onr  nativity ;  in  the  peace  whereof  we 
have  our  share ;  and  in  the  praises  whereof  we  are 
unworthy  of  the  name  of  Englishmen,  if  we  do  not 
cheerfully  bear  our  part  And  how  can  we  sum  up 
our  acknowledgments  of  God's  favours  to  our  nation, 
in  more  proper  words  than  those  of  my  text,  Thou 
eroymest  the  year  with  thy  goodness.  Common  pro- 
vidence crowns  every  year  with  the  goodness  of  God ; 
but  special  providences  crown  some  years  more  than 
others  with  it 

I.  Every  year  is  crowned  with  God's  goodness. 
We  of  this  land  have  as  much  reason  to  say  so  as 
any  other  people ;  for,  like  Canaan,  it  is  a  land  which 
the  eyes  of  the  Lord  our  God  are  always  upon,  from 
the  beginning  of  the  year  even  unto  the  end  of  the 
year.*^  He  who  appoints  the  bounds  of  men's  habi- 
tations, has  appointed  very  well  for  us:  The  lines  are 
fallen  to  us  in  such  pleasant  places,  as  forbid  us  to 
envy  the  situation  of  any  of  our  neighbours,  or  of 
any  nation  under  heaven. 

As  we  have  daily  meroies  to  give  thanks  for,  in 
the  close  of  every  day ;  so  we  have  yearly  mercies 
to  give  thanks  for,  in  the  close  of  every  year,  even 
the  blessings  of  <*  Heaven  above,"  and  the  ''  Earth 
beneath ;"  for  both  which  we  are  indebted  to  him 
who  made  heaven  and  earth,  and  continues  the  ordi- 
nances of  both  for  the  benefit  and  comfort  of  that 
mean,  unworthy  creature, — ^man. 

1.  The  annual  revolutions  of  the  heavenly  bodies, 
and  the  benefit  we  receive  by  their  light  and  influ- 
ences, in  the  several  seasons  of  the  year.  Summer 
and  winter  crown  the  year ;  God  made  both,  and 
both  for  the  service  of  men, — as  well  as  night  and 
day.'  The  shadows  of  the  evening  are  not  more 
acceptable  to  the  weary  labourer,*  than  the  winter 


•  Eiod.xxiiLl& 


bPi.ixv.  I. 


c  Deut.  XL  13. 


d  Pi.  Uziv.  10. 


•  Job  vii.  8. 


736 


£NGLAND*S  JOYS. 


quarters  of  refreshment  are  to  fatigued  armies ;  and 
then  the  spring,  that  time  when  kings  go  forth  to 
war/  is  as  welcome  to  the  bold  and  faithful  soldier, 
as  the  morning  is  to  the  honest  and  industrious 
husbandman,  who  then  goes  forth  to  his  work  and 
to  his  labour.' 

And  he  who  made  summer  and  winter,  has  made 
both  very  easy  and  comfortable  to  our  land.  So  yery 
temperate  is  our  climate,  and  so  well  secured  from 
both  extremes,  that  the  inconveniences  neither  of 
the  heat  in  summer,  nor  of  the  cold  in  winter,  are 
intolerable,  nor  such  obstructions  to  business  and 
intercourse  as  they  are  in  some  other  countries, 
no  .farther  north  than  Russia,  nor  south  than  Spain. 
So  that  if  our  land  produce  not  such  furs  as  the  north 
does,  and  such  silks  as  the  south,  we  ought  not  to 
complain:  nature  did  not  provide  them,  because 
it  had  better  provided  that  we  should  not  need 
them.  We  can  bid  both  summer  and  winter  wel- 
come ;  each  are  beautiful  in  their  season,  and  neither 
are  a  terror  to  us.  May  the  happy  temper  of  our 
climate  be  infused  into  our  minds,  and  our  modera- 
tion be  known  unto  all  men ! 

6od*s  covenant  with  Noah  and  his  sons,  by  which 
the  seasons  of  the  year  were  re-settled  after  the  in- 
terruption of  the  deluge,  is  the  crown  and  glory  of 
every  year :  and  the  constant  and  regular  succession 
of  summer  and  winter,  seed-time  and  harvest,**  in 
performance  of  that  promise,  is  an  encouragement  to 
our  faith  in  the  covenant  of  grace,  which  is  establish- 
ed firmly  as  those  ordinances  of  heaven  !* 

2.  The  annual  fruits  and  products  of  the  earth, 
grass  for  the  cattle,  and  herbs  for  the  service  of  men,*^ 
with  these  the  earth  is  every  year  enriched  for  use ; 
as  well  as  beautified  and  adorned  for  show.  The 
harvest  is  the  crown  of  every  year,  and  the  great 
influence  of  God's  goodness  to  an  evil  and  unthank- 
ful world.  And  so  kind  and  bountiful  is  the  hand  of 
providence  herein,  that  we  are  supplied  not  only 
with  necessary  food,  for  the  support  of  nature,  and 
the  holding  of  our  souls  in  life ;  but  with  a  great 
variety  of  pleasant  things  for  ornament  and  delight. 
Our  soul  is  as  happy  as  our  climate,  and  like  that 
of  Asher,  yields  royal  dainties.' 

Though  all  years  are  not  alike  plentiful,  yet — 
through  the  wise  disposal  of  Providence,  that  great 
house-keeper  of  the  universe — one  year  serves  to 
help  out  another,  and  so  to  bring  in  another ;  so  that 
when  we  gather  much,  it  proves  there  is  not  much 
over,  and  when  little,  there  is  no  great  lack.  Or, 
one  country  supplies  another ;  so  that  the  extremi- 
ties of  famine  have  never  sent  us  from  our  Canaan 
to  sojourn  in  any  Egypt  for  bread,  but  either  we 
have  had  it  among  us,  or  have  been  able  to  fetch  it. 

It  is  from  the  goodness  of  God  that  we  have  our 
yearly  corn,  and  out  of  that  our  daily  bread,  which 


1  3  Sam.  xi.  1. 
i  Jer.  xx&l.  3ft. 


V  Ps.  civ.  83. 
k  Zech.  ix.  17. 


h  Gen.  viii.  23. 
1  Gen.  xlix.  20. 


even  after  a  plentiful  harvest  we  might  come  short 
of,  if  when  we  hring  it  home  God  did  blow  upon  itJ^ 
In  these  things  God  does  good  to  all,  and  g^ves  them 
witnesses  of  his  being  and  providence,  his  power 
and  bounty,  sending  rain  from  heaven  and  fruitful 
seasons,  filling  our  hearts  with  food  and  gladness." 
And  these  witnesses  to  us,  will  be  witnesses  against 
us,  if  we  serve  not  the  Lord  our  God  with  joyfulness 
and  gladness  of  heart,  in  the  abundance  of  the  good 
things  he  gives  us ;  but  make  those  things  the  food 
and  fuel  of  our  lusts,  which  were  given  us  to  be  oil 
to  the  wheels  of  our  obedience. 

Let  us  thank  God  for  all  the  blessings  of  this  kind* 
with  which  every  year  of  our  lives  has  been  crown- 
ed ;  and  let  not  the  commonness  of  them  lower  their 
value  with  us,  nor  lessen  our  grateful  sense  of  God's 
goodness  to  us  in  them ;  nor  because  they  have  been 
hitherto  constant,  let  us  therefore  imagine  that  tbey 
come  of  course,  or  that  to-morrow  must  needs  be  as 
this  day,  and  much  more  abundant:  but  let  the 
praise  of  all  those  blessings  which  we  enjoy  by  the 
constant  course  of  nature,  be  given  to  the  God  of 
nature ;  to  him  let  us  own  our  obligations  for  what 
is  past,  and  on  him  let  us  own  our  dependence  for 
the  future,  lest  we  provoke  him  to  take  away  our  com 
in  the  season  thereof 

II.  Some  years  are,  in  a  special  manner,  crowned 
vrith  the  goodness  of  God  more  than  other  years ; 
Thou  wilt  bless  the  crown  of  the  year  with  thy  goodness, 
so  the  Seventy  read  it.  This  year,  in  which  by  ex- 
traordinary instances,  not  to  be  paralleled  in  the 
events  of  former  years,  thou  hast  made  known  thy 
goodness ;  things  which  the  former  years  expected 
not.  and  which  the  following  years  cannot  forget, 
and  will  reap  the  benefit  of.  This  year,  which  thou 
hast  made — ^to  excel  other  years,  and  to  out-shine 
them  in  the  historian's  annals  as  much  as  crowned 
heads  transcend  common  persons — by  reviving  the 
work  in  the  midst  of  the  years^^  when  we  were  ready 
to  ask.  Where  are  all  the  wonders  which  our  fathers 
told  usof?^  And  to  speak  of  the  years  of  the  right  hand 
of  the  Most  High^i  as  what  we  have  heard  and  read 
of,  and  what  our  fathers  have  told  us  of,  but  which 
we  expected  not  to  see  in  our  time. 

Every  year  was  crowned  with  God's  goodness,  but 
not  so  as  the  sixth  year  was,  when  God  made  the 
earth  to  bring  forth  fruit  three  years,'  which  were  to 
live  upon  the  products  of  that.  Every  year  was 
not  a  year  of  release,  much  less  a  year  of  jubilee. 
The  great  God  never  docs  any  thing  mean  or  little ; 
even  the  common  works  of  nature,  and  the  common 
course  of  providence,  give  proofs  of  the  infinite 
power  and  goodness  of  the  Creator  and  Director  of 
the  universe:  but  sometimes  the  arm  of  Omnipo- 
tence is  in  a  special  manner  made  bare,  and  the 
treasures  of  divine  bounty  opened,  in  which,  though 


m  Hag.  i.  9. 
p  Jiirig  vi.  ia 


n  ActSJciv.  17. 
q  Lev.  xxr.  31. 


o  HRb.  ill.  S. 
t  Ps.  Ixxvii.  10. 


ENGLAND'S  JOYS. 


737 


God  never  out-does  himself,  (as  men  are  sometimes 
said  to  do  apon  extraordinary  occasions,)  he  oat- 
does  what  he  used  to  do,  that  he  may  awaken  a  stu- 
pid and  unthinking  world,  to  see  the  goings  of  oar 
God,  oar  King,  in  his  sanctuary,*  and  may  proclaim 
himself  glorious  in  holiness,  fearful  in  praises,  work- 
ing wonders.^ 

Some  expositors  apply  the  year,  here  said  to  he 
crowned  with  God's  goodness,  to  the  year  of  gospel 
grace,  in  which  redemption  was  purchased  for,  and 
published  to,  a  poor  captive  world,  which  is  called, 
Tke  accepUbU  year  of  the  Lord.^  That  was  indeed 
the  year  of  God's  goodness,  when  the  kindness  and 
lore  of  God  our  Sayiour  toward  men  appeared  so 
clear,  so  hright ;  that  was  indeed  a  crowned  year, 
not  to  mention  the  crowns  of  common  years,  the 
frnitfal  fields  and  flowery  meads.  Even  the  glory  of 
that  year  in  which  Israel  was  brought  out  of  Egypt, 
and  received  the  law  from  God's  mouth,  all  the 
glory  which  crowned  the  top  of  Sinai's  mount,  was 
not  to  be  compared  with  the  glory  of  the  everlasting 
gospel,  that  glory  which  excelleth,  that  crown  of 
glory,  wkiekfadeth  not  away, 

Bnt  the  occasion  of  the  day  leads  me  to  apply  the 
text  to  those  fruits  and  gifts  of  the  divine  goodness, 
with  which  our  land  has  been  crowned  this  year  past, 
vhich  the  house  of  peers  in  their  address  have  call- 
ed/* A  Wonderful  Year  ;"  and  therefore  we  may 
take  leave  to  call  it  so,  who  must  form  our  ideas  of 
public  affairs  very  much  by  the  sentiments  of  those, 
who  are  better  acquainted  than  we  can  be  with  the 
particular  motions  of  them,  and  have  a  clearer  in- 
sight into  their  secret  springs  and  tendencies  than  it 
is  fit  for  us  to  pretend  to.  I  know  present  things 
ve  apt  to  affect  as  most,  and  will  allow  for  that ;  re- 
Dembering  many  a  thing,  which  we  called  a  great 
and  migbty  thing  when  it  was  in  the  doing,  but  it 
afterwards  dwindled,  and  looked  very  little :  but  not 
nnderraloing  what  God  has  wrought  for  us  formerly, 
as  if  there  had  never  been  the  like  before,  nor  pre- 
jadging  what  may  yet  be  in  the  womb  of  a  kind  pro- 
ndence,  as  if  we  were  never  to  expect  the  like 
again,  but  only  giving  it  its  due  weight,  and  what 
«e  think  it  will  hold  to,  it  cannot  be  denied,  but 
that  God  has  of  late  done  great  things  for  us  ;▼  so 
tkey  iey  enumg  the  heathen^  and  shall  not  we  say  it 
among  ourselves  ? 

Blessed  be  God  for  the  many  testimonies  borne 
this  day,  by  better  hearts  and  better  tongues  than 
mine,  to  the  glory  of  God's  goodness*;  but  into  the 
^eat  treasury  of  the  nation's  offering,  into  which 
the  great  men  cast  in  of  their  abundance,  we  are 
here  out  of  our  poverty  to  cast  in  our  mite :  and  the 
righteous  acts  of  the  Lord  must  be  rehearsed  at  the 
pUca  of  drawing  water  j''  which  were  the  rendezvous 
of  the  meaner  sort  of  people,  as  well  as  in  the  palaces 


•  Ps.  xxvi.  2.  a 


t  Exod.  XT.  II. 
w  Judg.  V.  II. 


■  Luke  \y.\9. 
«  Ps.  zlvii.  9. 


of  Jacob,  where  the  princes  of  our  people  are  gather- 
ed together,  even  the  people  of  the  God  of  Abraham.* 
And  we  trust  it  shall  pleaSe  the  Lord  better  than 
hecatombs  of  drink-offerings  and  sacrifices. 

In  this  plain  and  short  acknowledgment,  let  us 
therefore  all  join  with  thankful  hearts,  Lord,  thou 
crownett  the  year — this  year  with  thy  goodness.  Ob- 
serve, 

1.  God  and  his  providence  must  be  owned  in  all 
the  blessings  of  the  year.  Whatever  has  been  or  is 
our  honour,  our  joy,  our  hope,  comes  from  God's 
hand,  and  he  must  have  the  praise  of  it.  We  are 
very  unthinking  and  unwise  if  we  know  not,  and 
very  unjust  and  ungrateful  if  we  own  not,  that  God 
gives  us  our  com,  our  loine,  our  oils,^  our  victories, 
our  wealth,  our  peace,  our  all :  Who  hnoweth  not  iu 
all  these  that  the  hand  of  the  Lord  hath  wrought  this  ?' 
whatever  it  is  we  glory  in :  Let  him  that  glories,  there- 
fore, glory  in  the  Lord> 

It  is  fit  instruments  should  have  their  due  praise ; 
and  the  sense  the  nation  has  expressed  of  its  obliga- 
tions to  those  whom  God  has  honoured  in  the  public 
service,  is  a  very  good  indication.  It  was  a  sign 
that  Israel  remembered  not  the  Lord  their  God,  when 
they  showed  not  kindness  to  the  house  of  Gideon  ;^ 
but  we  must  lift  up  our  eyes  above  the  hills,  as  high 
as  heaven,  for  from  thence  cometh  our  help,^  and 
our  salvation.  It  is  not  from  our  own  sword  or  bow, 
but  from  God's  right  hand  and  his  arm,  that  our 
kingdom  is  great,  our  power  victorious,  and  our  glory 
bright ;  and  therefore  to  him  must  the  kingdom,  the 
power,  and  the  glory,  be  ascribed.  Praise  ye  the 
Lord  for  the  avenging  of  Israel ;  for  without  him  it 
never  had  been  done,  how  willingly  soever  the  people 
offered  themselves.*^ 

We  believe  there  is  a  Providence  that  governs  the 
world,  and  rules  in  all  the  affairs  of  it ;  and  good 
men  have  the  comfort  of  it  every  day.  Even  a  hea- 
then could  say,  Ovc  C7t  (ijv  tv  na  KOOfiut  ccvcm  Bttav  Kai 
ccvw  wpovotac — There  were  no  living  in  this  world  with- 
out God  and  his  providence.  If  Providence  be  our 
support  in  the  day  of  our  distress,  let  Providence 
have  our  praise  in  the  day  of  our  triumph.  It 
watches  us  particularly,  let  us  watch  it  filially ;  and 
since  every  creature  is  that  to  us  that  God  makes  it 
to  be,  let  our  thanks  pass  through  the  instruments 
to  the  great  Author  of  all  our  salvation. 

2.  The  goodness  of  God  must  in  a  particular  man- 
ner be  acknowledged,  as  that  in  which  all  our 
springs  are,  and  from  which  all  our  streams  flow. 
We  must  take  notice,  not  only  of  his  wisdom  and 
power  in  effecting  things  great  and  admirable  in 
themselves,  but  his  goodness  and  mercy  in  doing 
that  which  is  happy  and  advantageous  for  us  ;  and 
make  that  the  burthen  of  all  our  songs,  For  he  is 
good,  and  his  mercy  endurethfor  ever  ;  a  short  song, 


7  Ho9.  ii.  8. 
b  Judg  viii.  34,  35. 


«  Job  xil.  9. 

e  Ps.  CXXl.  I. 


a  1  Cor.  i.  31. 
d  Judg.  V.  3, 


738 


ENGLAND'S  JOYS. 


but  highly  honoured,  when  it  was  upon  the  singing 
of  these  words,  that  the  glory  of  the  Lord  took  pos- 
session of  Solomon's  temple.* 

When  we  consider  what  an  unworthy  people  we 
are,  how  ungrateful  we  have  been  for  God's  former 
favours,  and  what  unsuitable  returns  we  have  made, 
we  have  reason  to  admire  God's  goodness,  above  all 
his  attributes,  in  the  repetition  and  progress  of  his 
blessings ;  for  he  is  good  to  the  evil  and  unthankful. 
If  England's  God  and  Saviour  had  not  been  a  God 
of  infinite  mercy,  God  and  not  man,  in  pardoning 
sin,  we  had  been  ruined  long  since :  but  his  good- 
ness is  his  glory,  and  it  is  ours ;  in  it,  the  power  of 
the  Lord  is  great,  according  as  he  hath  spoken/ 

Acts  of  justice  to  the  church's  enemies  are  acts  of 
goodness  to  her  friends.  When  he  that  is  mighty 
doth  g^'eat  things,  and  scatters  the  proud  in  the  imagi- 
nation of  their  hearts,  it  is  in  remembrance  of  his 
mercy y — and  his  mercy  therein  is  on  them  that  fear 
him  from  generation^  to  generation.  O  that  men 
would  therefore  praise  the  Lord  for  his  goodness ! 
Lord,  thou  art  good,  and  dost  good,  and  thou,  there- 
fore, dost  good,  because  thou  art  good,  not  for  any 
merit  of  ours,  but  for  the  honour  of  thy  own  mercy. 

3.  These  blessings  which  flow  from  the  goodness 
of  God  have  crowned  this  year;  he  in  them  has 
crowned  it  That  word  shall  lead  us  into  the  detail 
of  those  favours,  which  we  are  thiis  day  to  take 
notice  of,  with  thankfulness,  to  the  glory  of  God.  A 
crown  signifies  three  things,  and  each  will  be  of  use 
tons.  (1.)  It  dignifies  and  adorns.  (2.)  It  surrounds 
and  encloses.  And,  (3.)  It  finishes  and  completes. 
And  accordingly  this  year  has  been  dignified,  sur- 
rounded, and  finished  with  the  blessings  of  God's 
goodness. 

(1.)  God  hath  dignified  this  year  with  his  good- 
ness. A  crown  denotes  honour.  Heaven  itself, 
which  is  perfect  holiness  in  everlasting  honour,  is 
often  represented  by  a  crown ;  a  crown  of  glory 
which  fadeth  not  away :  and  a  year  of  honour  this 
has  been  to  our  land ;  the  children  that  shall  be  born 
will  call  it  so. 

Surely  the  English  nation  never  looked  greater, 
nor  made  a  better  figure,  among  the  nations  than  it 
does  at  this  day.  Never  did  it  appear  more  for- 
midable to  its  enemies,  nor  more  acceptable  to  its 
friends ;  never  were  the  eyes  of  Europe  more  upon 
its  counsels;  never  was  its  alliance  more  courted 
and  valued,  nor  its  influences  upon  all  its  confede- 
rates more  powerful  and  benign ;  never  was  English 
conduct  and  English  courage  more  admired,  nor 
our  English  Jerusalem  more  a  praise  in  the  earth. 
Would  to  God  our  goodness  grew  in  proportion  to  our 
greatness ;  (and  that  would  be  both  the  advancement 
and  security  of  our  greatness  ;)  and  that  when  God, 
as  he  promised  Israel,  mahes  us  high  in  praise,  and 

•  2  Chron.  v.  13.        f  Numb.  xit.  |7.  .     r  Luke  1. 49,  50. 


in  name,  and  in  honour,  this  might  be  the  fruit  of  it, 
that  (as  it  follows  there)  we  might  be  a  holy  people  to 
the  Lord  our  Godf^  that  while  our  forces,  and  those 
of  our  allies,  are  triumphing  over  the  common  enemy 
of  Europe  abroad,  giving  us  occasion  for  one  thanks- 
giving-day after  another,  virtue  and  serious  godliness 
might  triumph — over  vice  and  profaneness,  impiety 
and  immorality,  those  common  enemies  of  mankind 
— at  home ;  that  the  pious  proclamation  of  our  gra- 
cious queen,  and  her  other  endeavours  for  the  sup- 
pression of  vice,  and  the  support  of  religion,  may 
not  be  frustrated  ;  that  all  our  other  glories  may  be 
made  substantial,  and  may  be  established — to  us, 
and  those  that  shall  come  after  us,  by  that  righteous- 
ness which  exalteth  a  nation;  and  may  not  be 
withered  by  sin,  which  is  a  reproach  to  any  people, 
especially  to  ours. 

Two  crowns  are  at  this  day  the  honour  of  our 
English  nation,  and  for  both  we  are  highly  indebted 
to  the  divine  goodness:  The  imperial  crown  of 
government  at  home ;  and  the  triumphal  crown  of 
victory  abroad. 

[1.]  The  imperial  crown  of  government  at  home  is 
our  honour  and  joy,  and  that  by  which  we  have  a 
great  deal  of  reason  to  value  ourselves,  and  for 
which  we  have  no  less  reason  to  be  thankful  to  God, 
who  because  he  loved  our  land,*  and  his  thoughts 
concerning  us  were  thoughts  of  good,  and  not  of 
evil,  to  give  us  an  expected  end,^  set  such  a  govern- 
ment over  us. 

Which  of  all  the  crowns  of  Europe  can  pretend 
to  outshine  the  English  diadem  at  this  day,  which  is 
as  the  sun  when  it  goes  forth  in  its  strength  ?  The 
flowers  of  our  crown  are  not — ^like  his  on  the  other 
side  of  the  water,  who  would  be  called  the  king  of 
glory — gathered  out  of  the  spoils  of  ruined  rights 
and  liberties  of  the  subjects,  nor  stained,  like  his, 
with  righteous  blood.    The  jewels  of  our  crown  are 
not  got  by  fraud  and  rapine  from  injured  neigh- 
bours ;  not,  like  his,  seized  by  an  unrighteous  war, 
and  a  deceitful  peace,  in   a  bold  and  impudent 
defiance  of  all  that  is  honourable,  just,  and  sacred : 
no,  the  flowers  and  jewels  of  our  crown  are  its  oun 
against  all  the  world ;  none  of  all  our  neighbours 
has  any  demand  upon  us.    Mercy  and  truth  are  the 
splendour  of  our  crown,  and  justice  and  righteous- 
ness the  never-failing  supporters  of  our  throne.    The 
globe  and  sceptre,  that  is,  the  wealth  and  power,  of 
the  English  sovereign,  are  both  equitable  beyond 
dispute, — whd,  therefore,  may  justly  assume    that 
motto,  and  abide  by  it,  Je  mien  tiendrai — /  wiU  hold 
my  own. 

How  happy,  how  very  happy,  is  the  constitution  of 
our  government!  sueh  as  effectually  secures  both 
the  just  prerogatives  of  the  prince,  and  the  just  pro- 
perties of  the  subject;  so  that  no  good  prince  can 


\\  Deut.  xzvi.  19. 


i  9  Chron.  ix.  1. 


k  Jer.  uux.  11. 


ENGLAND'S  JOYS. 


739 


dedre  to  be  greater,  nor  any  good  subject  desire  to 
be  easier,  than  the  constitution  of  onr  govemroent 
proTides ;  for  which,  we  may  jastly  be  the  envy  of 
all  our  neighbours ;  and  in  wfaidh,  we  ourselves 
OQgfat  to  take  the  greatest  satisfaction,  sitting  down 
with  delight  under  the  shadow  of  it.  If  there  be 
any  who  are  ^en  io  change^  I  am  sure  we  have  no 
reason  to  nuddU  with  them,  O  my  soul,  come  not 
tkou  into  their  secret.  The  ancient  landmarks, 
which  our  fathers  have  set,  and  which  the  patriots 
of  our  own  age  have  confirmed,  are  so  well  placed, 
that  in  kindness  to  posterity,  as  well  as  in  honour 
to  antiquity,  we  have  reason  to  pray  they  may 
never  be  remoTed. 

Thus  bright  does  the  crown  of  England  shine  :— 
yet  this  is  not  all  the  honour  of  our  day.  We  have 
farther  to  add,  that  the  head  that  wears  this  crown, 
reflects  more  honour  to  it,  than  it  borrows  from  it.  A 
tnie  Deborah,  a  mother  in  Israel,  a  prudent,  care- 
ful, tender  mother  to  the  Israel  of  God ;  one  who 
entirely  seehs  the  welfare  of  our  people,  speaking  peace 
to  all  their  seed  ;  who  is  herself  a  great  pattern  of 
virtue  and  piety,  and  a  pattern  of  it  in  her  realms  ; 
whose  conduct  is  as  pure  and  unexceptionable,  as 
her  title  is  clear  and  incontestable.  It  is  with  very 
good  reason  that  we  do  so  often  in  our  religious 
assemblies  bless  God  **  for  her,  and  for  her  wise 
and  good  government,  and  the  tranquillity  we  enjoy 
under  the  protection  and  influences  of  it.'' 

Far  be  it  from  me  to  give  Jlattering  titles  unto  man 
any  where,  especially  in  this  place ;  in  so  doing  my 
Maker  would  soon  take  me  away ;  ^  but  from  a  deep 
conviction  of  God's  goodness  to  us,  and  to  our  land, 
in  the  present  government,  I  think  it  is  my  duty,  as 
a  minister,  to  stir  up  myself  and  you,  thankfully  to 
acknowledge  it  to  the  glory  of  our  Lord  Jesus,  the 
eternal  wisdom  of  the  Father,  by  whom  kings  and 
queens  reigm,  and  princes  decree  justice  ;  and  as  the 
performance  of  that  promise  which  is  made  to  the 
gospel  church.  Kings  shall  be  her  nursing^fathers, 
end  queens  her  nursing^mothers.  Faithful  is  he  who 
has  promised. 

I  find  it  related  concerning  that  holy,  good  man, 
Mr.  Richard  Greenham,  who  lived  and  died  in  the 
glorious  reign  of  Queen  Elizabeth,  that  *'  He  much 
rejoiced  and  praised  God  for  the  happy  government 
of  that  princess,  and  for  the  blessed  calm  and  peace 
of  God's  church  and  people  under  it;  and  spake 
often  of  it  both  publicly  and  privately,  as  he  was 
occasioned,  and  stirred  up  the  hearts  of  all  men 
what  he  conid,  to  pray,  and  to  praise  God  with  him 
for  it  continually ;  yea,  this  matter  so  afiected  him, 
that  the  day  before  he  died  his  thoughts  were  much 
troubled,  for  that  men  were  so  unthankful  for  her 
happy  deliverance  from  the  conspiracies  of  the 
typists  against  her."    And  I  am  sure  we  have  no 


k  Job  zzxll.  29. 
3  b2 


less  reason  to  be  thankful  for  the  good  government 
we  are  under,  but  much  more ;  so  far  does  the  copy 
go  beyond  the  original. 

The  happiness  of  the  nation  in  the  present  minis- 
try, the  prudence  of  our  counsellors,  the  confessed 
fidelity  of  those  in  public  trusts,  the  harmony  and 
good  understanding  between  the  queen  and  the  two 
Houses,  and  their  mutual  confidence  in  each  other, 
and  that  between  the  Houses,  with  the  triumphs  of 
catholic  charity  over  bigotry  on  all  sides,  ought  to 
be  taken  notice  of  by  us  with  all  thankfulness,  to  the 
glory  of  that  God  who  has  thus  crowned  us  with  thf) 
blessings  of  goodness. 

And,  lastly,  the  project  set  on  foot  for  the  uniting 
of  the  two  imperial  crowns  in  one,  that  England  and 
Scotland,  like  Judah  and  Ephraim,*  may  become 
one  stick  in  the  hand  of  the  Lord,  which  our  wise 
men  think  will  add  greatly  to  the  strength,  wealth, 
and  honour  of  this  land,  is  one  of  the  blessings  with 
which  this  year  has  been  crowned ;  though  the  per- 
fecting of  it  is  reserved  to  be  the  crown  of  another 
year,  as  we  hope  the  good  efiiects  of  it  will  crown  the 
years  of  many  generations,  and  posterity  will  for  it 
call  this  reign  blessed. 

[2.]  The  triumpbal  crown  of  victory  abroad  is 
likewise  the  honour  and  joy  of  our  land  at  this  day. 
What  a  series  of  successes  has  this  year  been 
crowned  with !  and  how  glorious  will  the  history  of 
it  appear  in  the  book  of  the  wars  of  the  Lord,  what 
he  did  in  ■>  Flanders,  what  in  Spain,  what  in  Italy  ! 
However  it  shall  please  God  for  the  future  to  deal 
with  us,  here  we  must  set  up  our  Ebenezer,  and  sayi 
Hitherto  the  Lord  luith  helped  us. 

It  was  a  clear  and  glorious  victory  which  opened 
the  campaign  in  Flanders,  when  we  scarce  knew 
that  the  armies  had  taken  the  field,  and  which, 
through  the  good  hand  of  our  God  upon  us,  was  well 
improved.  It  was  a  happy  turn  that  was  given  to 
our  affairs  at  Barcelona,  which  if  it  might  have  been 
better  improved  afterwards,  ought  not  to  make  us 
unthankful  to  God  for  the  good  footing  then  and 
there  gotten.  In  these  and  other  instances,  the 
righteous  God  has  pleaded  our  righteous  cause,  and 
given  judgment  for  us. 

And  a  righteous  cause  it  is ;  it  is  requisite  that  we 
be  clear  in  this,  that  we  may  make  our  prayers,  in- 
tercessions, and  giving  of  thanks,  fpr  its  prosperity 
and  success,  in  faith.  Something  it  may  not  be  im- 
proper for  me  to  say  to  make  it  out,  for  the  help  of 
those  of  you  who  are  not  capable  of  getting  better 
information. 

Judge  therefore  within  yourselves ; 

(i.)  Is  not  that  a  righteous  war,  which  is  under- 
taken for  the  asserting  the  rights  of  injured  nations, 
and  the  securing  of  the  common  interests  of  Europe? 
It  is  in  the  necessary  defence  of  these  that  we 


1  Exek.  xxxvli.  19. 


Numb.  xxi.  14. 


(740 


ENGLAND'S  JOYS. 


appear,  and  act  at  this  day,  in  conjunction  with  oar 
allies,  against  the  exorbitant  power  and  boundless 
ambition  of  France,  which  must  be  reduced,  which 
must  be  repressed,  or  we  and  our  neighbours,  we 
and  our  posterity,  cannot  be  safe. 

When  proud  and  haughty  men  will  aim  at  an  uni- 
versal monarchy,  will  oblige  every  sheaf  to  bow  to 
theirs,  will  command  the  territories  and  treasures  of 
all  their  neighbours;  that  they  may  be  placed  alone 
in  the  midst  of  the  earth  ;"  it  is  necessary  to  the  pub- 
lic safety,  and  is  for  the  honour  of  God,  as  King  of 
nations,  that  a  check  be  given  to  their  rage.  Here 
shall  thy  proud  waves  he  stayed,  which  by  aiming  at 
universal  monarchy,  threaten  an  universal  deluge. 
He  who,  like  Isbmael,  has  his  hand  against  every 
man,  must  have  every  man's  hand  against  him,  and 
can  expect  no  other. 

War  among  the  nations,  is  like  the  administration 
of  justice  in  a  particular  community,  it  is  a  revenger 
to  execute  wrath  upon  him  who  does  wrong  f  it  is 
a  terror  to  evil-doers,  and  a  protection  of  right 
There  are  no  courts  of  justice  in  which  an  unright- 
eous king  and  kingdom  may  be  impleaded,  and  by 
whose  sentence  restitution  may  be  awarded,  the  in- 
jured righted,  and  wrong-doers  punished:  the  court 
of  Heaven  therefore  must  be  appealed  to  by  the 
drawing  of  the  sword  of  war,  when  gentler  methods 
have  been  tried  in  vain :  for  it  must  be  the  ratio 
ultima  reguiHf — the  dernier  resort  of  injured  nations. 
In  this  supreme  court  Jephtha  thus  lodges  his  appeal, 
Tlie  Lord^  the  Judge,  be  Judge  this  day  between  the 
children  of  Israel  and  the  children  of  Atnmc/n,^  And 
the  final  determination  of  these  appeals,  no  doubt, 
will  be  according  to  equity  ;  for  he  who  sits  in  the 
throne  judgeth  right :  though  the  righteous  cause 
\%  not  always  crowtied  with  victory  at  first,  witness 
the  war  between  Israel  and  the  Benjamite8,<i  yet 
great  is  the  truth,  and  will  prevail  at  last  See  Job 
XX.  15. 

The  expense  of  blood  and  treasure  must  not  be 
grudged,  when  it  is  necessary  for  the  settling  the 
balance  of  power,  the  securing  of  the  just  rights  of 
nations,  and  the  cutting  off  of  those  horns  with  which 
they  have  been  wounded  and  scattered.' 

And  the  case. is  very  much  strengthened,  when 
acts  of  violence  and  injustice  are  maintained  by 
treachery,  and  a  perfidious  violation  of  oaths  and 
leagues ;  when  the  public  faith  of  princes  and  states 
is  pawned  in  vain,  and  the  most  sacred  cords  by 
which  conscience  should  be  held,  are  snapt  in  sun- 
der like  Samson's  bonds,  only  because  a  man  thinks 
himself  a  Samson  for  strength :  and  this  not  once 
or  twice,  but  often,  then  it  is  time  to  draw  the  sword 
to  avenge  the  quarrel  of  the  covenant.  If  a  man 
despise  an  oath,  and  break  through  that,  when  lo, 
he  hath  given  his  hand.  As  1  live,  says  the  Lord,  he 

!<■  .       I 

a  Isa.  V.  8.         •  Rom.  xiii.  4.  p  Judg.  x1.  27. 


shall  not  escape,  but  it  shall  surely  be  f'ecompensed 
upon  that  faithless  head.*  War  is  an  appeal  to 
God's  providence,  as  the  Lord  of  hosts,  against 
those  who  would  not  abide  by  an  appeal  to  his  ordi- 
nance,  as  the  God  of  truth. 

(ii.)  Is  not  that  a  righteous  war,  which  is  under- 
taken in  defence  of  the  particular  interests  of  our 
nation  ?  If  we  had  not  helped  our  neighbours  to 
quench  the  fire  in  their  borders,  we  know  not  how 
soon  it  might  have  been  kindled  in  our  own  bowels, 
and  it  might  have  been  out  of  the  power  of  our  hands 
to  extinguish  it,  and  to  prevent  the  ruin  of  all  that 
is  dear  to  us.  It  is  for  our  people,  and  the  cities  of 
our  God,  that  we  engage  in  this  war ;  self-preserva- 
tion requires  it. 

How  can  we  be  safe,  how  can  we  sit  still  uncon- 
cerned, while  so  formidable  a  neighbour  as  France 
has  been,  not  only  harbours,  but  espouses,  the  caase, 
and  aims  at  the  establishment,  of  one  who  pretends 
to  our  crown,  sets  up  a  title,  and  makes  an  interest 
against  the  best  of  governments,  and  manifestly  de- 
signs the  ruin  of  our  religion,  rights,  and  liberties* 
and  all  we  have  that  is  valuable  ?  How  can  we  do 
otherwise,  who  must  write  after  a  French  copy,  and 
be  governed  by  French  counsels  ? 

Did  the  wisdom  of  the  nation  find  it  requisite  lo 
oblige  us,  by  an  oath,  not  only  to  be  faithful  to  the 
present  government,  but  to  maintain  the  succession 
as  it  is  established  in  the  protestant  line ;  (which 
we  pray  God  late  to  bring  in,  but  long  to  continue, 
that  it  may  prove  a  successful  expedient,  for  the 
extinguishing  of  the  hopes  of  our  popish  adversaries, 
and  all  their  aiders  and  abettors ;)  and  is  it  not  the 
duty,  as  well  as  interest,  of  the  nation,  in  pursuance 
to  that  engagement,  to  take  all  possible  precaution 
for  the  fortifying  our  bulwarks  against  every  attempt 
upon  that  establishment?  There  is  no  man  that  has 
sincerely  abjured  the  Pretender,  but  he  must  in  good 
earnest  pray  against  his  supporters. 

Well !  this  is  the  cause,  the  just  and  honourable 
cause,  in  which  our  banner  is  displayed ;  for  the 
prosperity  of  which  we  have  often  prayed ;  and  in 
the  good  success  of  which  we  are  this  day  rejoicing, 
as  that  which  is  very  much  the  honour  of  this  year. 
If  in  any  places  which  we  are  concerned  for,  there 
have  been  some  losses,  and  disappointment8,'-or 
advances  not  so  quick  as  we  were  apt  to  promise 
ourselves,— those  need  not  surprise  or  perplex  us : 
in  genera],  the  progress  of  our  arms  has  been  very 
considerable,  beyond  what  we  could  reasonably 
have  expected,  and  likely  to  turn  greatly  to  our  ad- 
vantage. 

2.  God  has  surrounded  this  year  with  his  goodness, 
compassed  and  enclosed  it  on  every  side.  So  we  trans- 
late the  same  word,  (Ps.  v.  12.)  With  favour  wtlt 
thou  compass  (or  crown)  him  as  with  a  shield.  He  has 


q  Judg.  XX. 


r  Zech.  i.  31. 


t  Ezek.  xvii.  18, 19- 


ENGLAND'S  JOYS. 


741 


given  as  instances  of  his  goodness  in  every  thing 
that  concerns  ns  ;  so  that  turn  which  way  we  will, 
we  meet  with  the  tokens  of  his  favour ;  every  part  of 
the  year  has  been  enriched  with  the  blessings  of 
heaven,  and  no  g^p  has  been  left  open  for  any  deso- 
lating judgment  to  enter  by.  A  hedge  of  protection 
and  peculiar  enclosure  has  been  made  about  us  on 
eveiy  side,  and  has  been  to  us  as  the  crown  to  the 
head ;  so  entirely  have  we  been  begirt  by  it,  and 
amforttd  on  everif  side,t 

Let  us  observe  some  instances  of  that  goodness 
^hich  has  gone  through  the  year. 

(1.)  It  has  been  a  year  of  peace  and  tranquillity  at 
home,  even  while  we  have  been  engaged  in  war 
abroad ;  as,  thanks  be  to  God,  the  years  past  have 
been.  The  God  of  peace  makes  peace  in  our  borders ;° 
securing  us  from  foreign  invasions  upon  our  borders, 
and  domestic  insurrections  within  our  borders ;  and 
blessing  the  care  of  those,  who  under  him  are  the 
oonservatois  of  our  peace.  We  ought  to  be  so  much 
the  more  sensible  of  this  mercy,  and  thankful  for  it, 
because  so  many  other  countries  in  Europe  are  at 
this  time  the  seat  of  war.  When  we  read  in  the 
public  intelligences  of  the  ruin  of  cities  by  long 
sieges,  the  patting  of  all  to  the  sword,  and  the  de- 
vastations made  in  those  countries  where  armies  are 
encamped,  let  as  take  occasion  to  bless  God  that 
it  is  not  so  in  oar  land.  We  hear,  indeed,  of  wars, 
aod  nimoars  of  wars,  in  other  countries  ;  but  at  so 
great  a  distance,  that  they  create  no  horror  or  incon- 
lenience  to  us.  What  a  consternation  was  the  pro- 
phet Jeremiah  himself  put  into  by  the  noise  of  war  ? 
MyboweUy  my  bowels ^  1  am  pained  at  my  very  hearty 
httauM0  thou  hast  heard^  O  my  soul,  the  sound  of  the 
trumpet,  the  alarm  of  war,^  Thanks  be  to  God,  we 
are  not  acquainted  with  those  frights,  we  see  not 
those  desolations  of  fire  and  sword,  we  hear  not  the 
thundering  noise  of  the  instruments  of  war,  that 
breathe  threatenings  and  slaughter.*  How  pleasant 
is  the  noise  of  yonder  great  guns,  now  they  are  pro- 
claiming our  Yictories,  and  celebrating  our  triumphs, 
and  as  it  were  discharging  war  out  of  our  kingdom ! 
Bat  how  dreadful  would  it  be,  how  would  it  make 
our  ears  to  tingle,  and  our  hearts  to  tremble,  if  the 
noise  came  from  the  batteries  of  an  enemy,  and  every 
shot  carried  with  it  a  messenger  of  death  flying 
swiftly ! 

The  peace  we  enjoy  is  the  comfort  of  our  lives,  the 
security  of  oar  estates,  and  the  protection  both  of  the 
cifil  and  sacred  adminstrations.  War  is  an  inter- 
ruption to  the  course  of  justice,  and  a  disturbance 
to  its  courts,  an  obstruction  to  the  progress  of  the 
ivord  of  God,  and  a  terror  to  religious  assemblies : 
but,  blessed  be  God,  both  are  held  among  us  with- 
out fear  :  on  all  our  glory  this  is  a  defence  ;*  and 

' '  _— ^— ^— ^^-.  ,11-.  I 

t  Pii  Uxi.  21.  o  Ps.  cxWii.  14.  T  Jer.  iv.  19. 

*  Jost  as  these  word*  were  q>oken,  it  happened  that  the  can- 
non of  ibe  castle  began  to  be  discharged  ;n  honour  of  the  day, 


this  makes  our  English  Jerusalem  a  quiet  habitation, 
and  the  cities  of  our  solemnities  doubly  pleasant  to 
us.'  To  this  we  owe  it,  that  the  highways  are  not 
unoccupied,  that  the  plains  are  not  deserted,  and 
that  our  cities  remain  in  their  strength.  We  are 
delivered  from  the  noise  of  archers,  at  the  places  of 
drawing  water :  here,  therefore,  let  us  rehearse  the 
righteous  acts  of  the  Lord,  even  his  righteous  acts  to- 
wards  the  inhabitants  of  his  villages  in  Israel  J 

Thanks  be  to  God,  it  is  with  us  at  this  day,  as  it 
was  with  Judah  and  Israel  in  Solomon's  time,  when 
they  dwelt  safely,  every  man  under  his  own  vine, 
and  under  his  own  fig-tree,'  and  the  property  of 
them  not  questioned  or  invaded  ;  what  we  have  we 
can  call  our  own ;  and  the  enjoyment  of  them  not  dis- 
turbed or  imbittered  to  us.  God  grant,  that  security 
and  sensuality  may  not  be  the  ill  effects  of  so  good  a 
cause,  as  our  long  peace  and  tranquillity ! 

(2.)  It  has  been  a  year  of  plenty,  and  abundance 
of  the  increase  of  the  earth.  Though  we  of  this 
country  were  threatened,  and  somewhat  incommoded, 
by  unseasonable  and  excessive  rains  in  the  time  of 
harvest,  (and  it  has  been  observed,  that  our  land, 
unlike  to  Canaan,  is  in  danger  of  suffering  by  too 
much  rain  more  than  by  too  little,)  yet  in  wrath 
God  remembered  mercy,  and  our  corn  was  not  tahen 
away,  as  it  might  have  been,  tn  the  season  thereof;  but 
our  markets  are  full,  and  a  kind  Providence  does 
abundantly  bless  our  provisions,  and  satisfies  our 
poor  with  bread,*  if  any  thing  will  satisfy  them.  It 
is  a  pity  this  should  be  complained  of  as  a  grievance 
by  the  seller,  which  is  so  great  a  blessing  to  the 
buyer;  and  that  some  expedient  or  other  is  not 
found  oat,  in  imitation  of  Joseph's  prudence,  to 
keep  the  balance  somewhat  even  between  them ;  that 
he  who  sells  his  corn,  may  neither  have  cause  to 
complain  of  plenty,  nor  he  who  buys  the  bread,  of 
scarcity. 

Whatever  complaints  bad  hearts  may  make  of 
bad  times,  the  scarcity  of  money,  and  the  burthen  of 
taxes,  and  the  like ;  those  who  know  the  world  better 
than  I  do,  observe,  **  that  whatever  there  are  in 
France,  in  England  there  are  no  visible  marks  of 
poverty ;  nor  any  sign  to  be  seen,  either  in  building 
or  furniture^  either  in  food  or  clothing,  no,  nor  in 
the  alehouse  or  the  tavern,  (where,  one  would  think, 
money,  if  scarce,  should  first  be  spared,)  of  the  decay 
of  our  trade,  and  the  expense  of  the  war  being  in- 
supportable.'' 

(3.)  It  should  seem  to  have  been  a  year  too  of 
more  trade  than  one  would  have  expected,  consider- 
ing the  war.  Numerous  fleets  of  merchantmen  are 
come  in,,  and  our  surrounding  ocean  is  not  only  as 
a  strong  wail  to  us,  but  as  a  rich  mine ;  so  that,  with 
Zebulun,  we  such  of  the  abundance  of  t lie  seas,  and  of 

ivithin  hearing  of  our  aasembly,  which  occasioned  the  rollowing 
remark.  w  laa.  iv.  5.  *  Isa.  xxxiii.  20. 

7  Judg  V.  II.  *  I  Kings  iy.  25.  •  Ps  cxxxii.  I\ 


742 


ENGLAND'S  JOYS. 


treasures  hid  in  the  sand.^  If  it  be  complained  of 
that  we  lose  more  ships  of  trade  to  the  enemy  than 
they  to  us,  it  must  be  considered,  that  suppose  the 
matter  of  fact  be  so,  the  reason  is  because  we  have 
more  to  lose,  abundantly  more,  and  more  valuable. 

May  our  merchandise,  and  our  hire,  be  holiness  to 
the  Lord,*  that  a  blessing  may  rest  upon  it,  as  it  will 
if  we  consecrate  our  gain  unto  the  Lord,  and  our 
substance  to  the  Lord  of  the  whole  earth.' 

(4.)  It  has  been  a  year  of  constant  opportunities 
for  our  souls,  and  plenty  of  the  means  of  grace. 
This,  this  is  that  which  crowns  the  year  with  God's 
goodness  more  than  any  thing.  The  greatest  honour 
of  our  land  is,  that  God's  tabernacle  is  among  us, 
the  Lord  is  known,  his  name  is  great.  This  makes 
it  beautiful  for  situation,  and  the  joy  of  the  whole 
.  earth,  and  to  us  whose  lot  is  cast  in  it,  a  pleasant 
land  indeed:  that  we  are  a  Christian  nation,  a 
protestant  nation ;  That  we  have  plenty  of  Bibles 
in  a  language  we  understand,  and  not  only  that  we 
may  read  them  without  danger  of  the  inquisition, 
but  that  we  have  them  read  to  us,  have  stewards  of 
God's  house  among  us,  to  break  to  us  this  bread  of 
life.  Our  eyes  see  our  teachers,  and  they  are  not 
removed  into  comers ;  and  the  word  of  the  Lord  is 
not,  in  respect  of  scarcity,  precious  in  our  days ;  but 
we  have  open  vision.  God  makes  known  his  statutes 
and  judgments  to  us,  and  has  not  dealt  so  with  other 
nations.  Our  fleece  is  wet  with  the  dew  of  heaven, 
while  theirs  is  dry.  It  is  our  religion  that  is  our 
glory ;  it  is  the  fear  of  the  Lord  that  is  our  treasure ; 
it  is  God  himself  that  is  our  crown  and  diadem  of 
beauty." 

The  sabbaths  of  the  year  are  the  crown  of  it.  The 
Jews  called  the  sabbath  their  Queen :  and  the  crown 
of  our  sabbaths  is  our  solemn  assemblies,  which  wc 
have  had  the  comfort  of  throughout  the  year,  through- 
out the  land,  without  interruption,  in  the  stated  times 
appointed  for  them ;  it  is  that  we  have  Moses  and 
the  prophets,  Christ  and  the  apostles,  read  in  our 
synagogues  every  sabbath  day.'  It  is  a  comfort  to 
us,  when  we  come  together  to  worship  God,  that  we 
do  it  not  only  in  the  fear  of  God,  and  in  the  faith 
of  Christ,  but  in  a  spiritual  communion,  with  all 
that  in  every  place  call  on  the  name  of  Jesus  Christ 
our  Lord,  both  theirs  and  ours ;  that  we  worship  the 
same  God,  in  the  same  name,  by  the  same  rule  of 
the  written  word,  under  the  conduct  of  the  same 
spirit,  and  in  expectation  of  the  same  blessed  hope. 
But  our  communion  with  the  religious  assemblies  of 
our  own  land,  both  those  by  the  legal  establishment, 
and  those  by  the  legal  toleration,  is,  in  a  particular 
manner,  comfortable  to  us.  Our  brethren's  services 
to  God  and  his  church  who  move  in  a  higher  and 
larger  sphere,  we  rejoice  in,  and  heartily  wish  well 
to ;  and  think  we  have  a  g^eat  deal  of  reason  to  be 


b  Deal,  xzxiii.  19. 


c  laa.  xxiii.  16. 


d  Mic.  iv.  13. 


thankful  also,  both  to  God  and  the  govemmenty  for 
the  continuance  of  our  own  liberties  and  opportu- 
nities, which  we  desire  always  to  be  found  quiet 
and  peaceable,  humble  and  charitable,  in  the  use  of, 
and  diligent  and  faithful  in  the  improvement  of,  for 
the  glorifying  of  God,  and  the  working  out  of  oar 
own  salvation. 

Thus  has  the  year  been  surrounded  with  the  fruits 
of  God's  goodness,  and  we  have  been  compassed 
with  songs  of  deliverance.  In  consideration  whereof, 
let  us  be  constant  and  universal  in  our  obedience 
to  God,  steady  and  uniform  in  our  returns  of  duty 
to  him,  whose  compassions  to  us  are  so,  and  never 
fail. 

3.  God  has  crowned,  that  is,  he  hath  finished,  this 
year  with  his  goodness.  The  happy  issue  of  an 
affair  we  call  the  crown  of  it ;  and  the  close  of  this 
year's  actions  may  well  be  looked  upon  as  the  beauty 
of  the  whole  year,  the  crown  of  the  whole  work ;  of 
which  his  favour  has  both  laid  the  foundation,  and 
brought  forth  the  top-stone  wi0i  shouting. 

In  the  beginning  of  the  year,  God  did  remarkably 
precede  us  with  the  blessing  of  his  goodness ;'  met 
us  with  a  victory  early  in  the  morning  of  the  cam- 
paign, before  we  were  well  awake,  which  left  room 
for  the  doing  of  a  good  day's  work  in  prosecution  of 
it.  Yet  we  rendered  not  according  to  the  benefit 
done  unto  us ;  for  which  he  might  justly  have  turned 
his  hand  against  us,  and  have  made  the  latter  end 
of  the  year,  by  some  fatal  disgrace  or  disappoint- 
ment, to  have  undone  what  had  been  done  so  glo- 
riously in  the  beginning  of  the  year,  so  that  we 
might  have  been  obliged  to  conclude  the  year  with 
a  fast :  but  he  has  not  dealt  with  us  according  to  our 
sins;  the  same  powerful  and  gracious  hand  that 
went  before  us  then,  crowns  us  now  with  honour 
and  joy ;  the  end  of  the  year  is  of  a  piece  with  the 
beginning;  and,  in  answer  to  our  prayers  on  the 
last  thanksgiving  day,  he  has  favoured  us  with  an- 
other  feast  and  a  good  day,  in  which  we  have  light, 
and  gladness,  and  joy,  and  honour.  Thus  is  God 
known  by  his  name  Jehovah,  a  finishing  God,  a 
Rock  whose  work  is  perfect;  and  thus  are  we 
admonished,  when  we  have  begun  in  the  spirit,  not 
to  end  in  the  flesh. 

Two  things  crown  this  year,  and  make  the  con- 
clusion of  it  great ;  and  both  must  be  attributed  to 
the  goodness  of  God  : 

(I.)  The  successes  of  our  allies  abroad ;  the  won- 
derful relief  of  Turin,  and  the  ref^toration  of  that 
excluded  prince  to  his  capital,  when  his  affairs  were 
reduced  to  the  last  extremity,  and  the  enemy  was 
confident  of  carrying  the  day.  And  that  this  should 
be  but  one  day's  work,  but  two  or  three  hours'  action. 
This  is  such  a  loss  and  mortification  to  our  adver- 
saries, and  the  consequences  of  it,  in  Italy,  of  such 


«  ba.  xxviii.  & 


f  Acu  xiii.  37. 


ir  Ps.  xxl.  X 


ENGLAND'S  JOYS. 


743 


vast  advantage  to  our  allies,  and  likely  to  be  more 
so ;  that  the  year  mast  be  acknowledged  to  end  as 
honourably  and  happily  as  it  began.  This  is  the 
Lor^s  doing  / 

That  which  magnified  the  mercy  in  the  beginning 
of  the  year,  was,  that  our  expectations  were  in  it 
anticipated ;  that  which  magnifies  this  in  the  end  of 
the  year,  is,  that  our  expectations  in  it  were  far  out- 
done. In  that,  God  was  better  to  us  than  our  hopes ; 
in  this,  than  our  fears  ;  in  both,  than  our  deserts. 

(2.)  The  unanimity  of  our  counsels  at  home.  The 
presence  of  God  is  as  much  to  be  observed  and  own- 
ed in  the  congregation  of  the  mighty,  and  judging 
among  the  gods^  as  in  the  high  places  of  the  field, 
determining  the  issues  of  war,  and  turning  the  ho- 
vering scale  of  victory.  It  is  he  who  gives  a  spirit 
of  judgment  to  them  who  sit  in  council,  as  well  as 
strength  to  them  that  turn  the  battle  to  the  gate  :*  and 
in  this  matter,  he  who  has  all  hearts  in  his  hands, 
who  made  man's  mouth,  the  hearing  ear  and  the 
seeing  eye,  has  done  well  for  us,  and  crowned  the 
year. 

All  who  undertake  to  give  the  sense  of  the  nation, 
or  of  any  part  of  it,  the  lords,  the  commons,  the 
convocation,  all  agree  to  admire  the  present  happy 
postare  of  our  afiairs,  and  the  flourishing  state  of  the 
kingdom  under  this  government,  and  in  this  con- 
juncture. Never  did  the  English  nation  appear  to 
be  so  universally  easy,  so  pleased,  so  entirely  satis- 
fied in  the  public  management  and  administration. 
Happy  art  thou,  O  England,  who  is  lihe  unto  thee,  O 
people  f  Never  was  such  a  hearty  zeal  discovered  for 
the  common  cause  of  our  religion  and  liberties, 
against  the  threatening  power  of  France ;  nor  were 
ever  the  necessary  supports  of  that  cause  given  so 
speedily,  so  cheerfully,  and  with  such  expressions  of 
a  willingness  to  continue  them,  till  it  be  in  our  power 
to  oblige  that  perfidious  foe  to  such  a  just  and  ho- 
nourable peace,  as  it  shall  not  be  in  his  power  to  vio- 
late. In  a  word,  the  temper  and  good  affection  of 
the  nation  at  this  day,  seems  not  unlike  that  of  the 
people  of  Israel,  when  Solomon  dismissed  them  from 
the  feast  of  dedication.  They  blessed  the  king,  and 
vent  unto  their  tents,  joyful  and  glad  of  heart,  for  all 
the  goodness  that  the  Lord  had  done  for  David  his  ser- 
wint,  and  for  Israel  his  people,  1  Kings  viii.  66.  Long 
— and  ever — may  it  be  so ! 

Ministers  (I  know)  are  the  unfittest  persons,  and 
the  pulpit  the  unfittest  place,  in  the  world,  to  talk  of 
state  affairs  in.  Yon  know  it  is  not  my  practice  ; 
and  I  am  sure  I  am  most  in  my  element  when  I  am 
preaching  Jesus  Christ  and  him  crucified.  But  I 
would  endeavour  to  do  the  work  of  every  day  in  its 
day,  according  as  the  duty  of  the  day  requires ;  and 
on  such  occasions  as  these,  one  had  as  good  say 
nothing,  as  nothing  to  the  purpose ;  and  therefore, 

k  Pb.  izxxu.  1.     <  lia.  xzYilt.  &     k  Rev.  iv.  10.     i  Ps.  xxiii.  3. 


though  I  am  not  so  well  versed  in  the  public  afiairs 
as  to  be  particular  in  my  remarks,  nor  such  a  master 
of  language  as  to  be  fine  in  them ;  yet  the  hints  I 
have  given  you  of  God's  favours  to  our  land  at  this 
day,  and  the  great  goodness  with  which  the  year  we 
are  now  concluding  has  been  crowned,  will  serve  to 
answer  in  some  measure  my  intention,  (and  it  is  no 
other  than  what  becomes  a  minister  of  the  gospel,) 
which  is,  to  excite  your  thankfulness  to  so  good  a 
God,  and  to  confirm  your  affections  to,  and  satisfac- 
tion in,  so  good  a  government :  and  therefore,  I  hope, 
you  will  neither  think  them  impertinent,  nor  find 
them  altogether  unprofitable. 

III.  Application. 

That  which  remains,  is  to  make  some  improve- 
ment of  our  observations  concerning  that  goodness 
with  which  God  has  crowned  this  year,  that  we  may 
go  away  (as  we  should  aim  to  do  from  every  sermon) 
some  way  wiser  and  better. 

1.  Has  God  thus  crowned  the  year?  Let  us  cast 
all  the  crowns  of  it  at  his  feet,  by  our  humble,  grate- 
ful acknowledgments  of  his  infinite  wisdom,  power, 
and  mercy.  What  we  have  the  joy  of,  let  God  have 
the  praise  of  The  blessed  spirits  above  cast  their 
crowns  before  the  throne,''  and  that  is  the  fittest  place 
for  all  our  crowns.  Let  praise  continue  to  wait  on 
him,  who,  though  he  be  attended  with  the  praises 
of  angels,  yet  is  pleased  to  inhabit  the  praises  of 
Israel.^  Let  our  closets  and  families  witness  to  our 
constant  pious  adorations  of  the  divine  greatness, 
and  devout  acknowledgments  of  the  divine  goodness 
to  us,  and  to  our  land ;  that  evety  day  may  be  with 
us  a  thanksgiving  day,  and  we  may  live  a  life  of 
praise,  that  work  of  heaven.  David  did  so.  Every 
day  will  I  bless  thee  ;»  nay,  almost  every  hour  in  the 
day.  Seven  times  a  day  will  I  praise  thee.^ 

God  must  have  the  glory,  particularly  of  all  our 
victories ;  and  every  monument  of  them  must  be 
sacred  to  the  Eternal  Lord,  rather  than  to  the  eter- 
nal memory  of  any  man :  nor  ought  the  most  merito- 
rious and  distinguished  actions  of  the  greatest  heroes 
to  be  registered,  without  some  acknowledgment  to 
that  supreme  Numen — Deity,  whose  universal  and 
overruling  providence,  guided  their  eyes,  strength- 
ened their  arms,  and  covered  their  heads.  All  peo- 
ple will  thus  walh  in  the  name  of  their  God,^  and  shall 
not  we  ?  If  Amaiek  be  subdued,  the  memorial  of  it 
is  an  altar,  not  a  triumphal  arch ;  and  is  inscribed 
to  the  honour  not  of  Moses  or  Joshua,  but  of  God 
himself,  Jehovah  nissi — The  Lord  my  banner. 

In  this,  both  our  illustrious  sovereign,  and  her 
great  general,  are  examples  to  the  nation  ;  (and,  as 
much  as  in  other  things,  do  real  honour  to  it  by  doing 
honour  to  the  religion  of  it ;)  That  from  him  in  the 


la  P&CXIV.  3. 


>  Ps.  cxix.  i^ 


o  Mic.  iv.  5. 


744 


ENGLAND'S  JOYS. 


camp,  immediately  upon  the  obtaining  of  a  victory, 
and  from  her  in  the  church,  in  due  time  after,  and 
from  both,  in  the  most  solemn  manner,  the  incense 
of  praise  ascends  to  the  glory  of  God,  as  the  God  of 
our  salvation.  Theses  who  thus  honour  God,  no 
doubt,  he  will  yet  further  honour ;  and  make  those 
crowns,  those  coronets,  to  shine  yet  more  bright, 
which  are  thus  laid  at  his  feet,  with  Not  unto  im,  O 
Lord,  not  unto  us,  bvt  to  thy  name  give  glory. 

If  we  be  remiss  to  ascribe  the  praise  of  our  achieve- 
ments to  God,  we  provoke  him  to  turn  his  hand 
against  us,  and  by  some  judgment  or  other  to  dis- 
train for  the  rent  which  is  not  duly  paid.  When 
Samson  had  with  the  jaw-bone  of  an  ass  laid  a 
thousand  Philistines  dead  upon  the  spot,  he  seems 
to  take  the  praise  of  the  performance  too  much  to 
himself,  and  to  overlook  the  arm  that  strengthened 
him,  when  he  called  the  place  Ramath-lehi — the  lift- 
ing up  of  the  jaw-bone  ;p  and,  therefore — ^by  a  very 
afflictive  thirst  which  seized  him  immediately  after, 
and  drove  him  to  his  prayers — God  reduced  his 
pride,  and  made  him  know  his  own  weakness,  and 
dependence  upon  God,  and  obliged  him  to  give  a 
new  name  to  the  place,  Enhakkore — the  well  of  him 
that  criedy^  not  of  him  that  conquered.  The  more 
thankful  we  are  for  former  mercies,  the  better  pre- 
pared we  are  for  further  mercies. 

2.  Has  God  thus  crowned  the  year  ?  Let  not  us 
then  profane  our  crown,  nor  lay  our  honour  in  the 
dust,  by  our  unworthy  walking.  Let  the  goodness 
of  God  lead  us  to  repentance,  and  engage  us  all  to 
reform  our  lives  and  families,  to  be  more  watchful 
against  sin,  and  to  abound  more  in  the  service  of 
God,  and  in  every  thing  that  is  virtuous  and  praise- 
worthy. Then,  and  then  only,  we  offer  praise,  so  as 
indeed  to  glorify  God,  when  we  order  our  conversa- 
tion aright ;  and  then  shall  we  be  sure  to  see  his 
great  salvation,  and  be  for  ever  praising  him. 

It  does  indeed  give  both  a  damp  to  our  joy,  and  a 
shock  to  our  hopes,  at  this  day,  that  notwithstanding 
the  great  things  God  has  done  for  us  there  is  yet 
so  much  wickedness  to  be  found  among  us ;  so  much 
impiety,  so  much  immorality  ;  and  both  arising  from 
practical  atheism  and  infidelity,  and  accompanied 
with  a  contempt  of  religion  and  sacred  things. 
What  shall  we  say  to  these  things  ?  It  is  some  en- 
couragement to  us  to  hear,  as  we  do  by  some,  that 
through  the  pious  care  of  the  general,  there  is  a  ma- 
nifest reformation  of  manners  in  the  army ;  vice  dis- 
countenanced, and  virtue  in  reputation  ;  God  grant 
it  may  be  more  and  more  so  I  it  would  be  the  happi- 
est omen  of  any  other.  It  is  likewise  to  be  rejoiced 
in,  that  there  are  national  testimonies  borne  against 
vice  and  profaneness,  and  national  endeavours  used 
for  the  suppressing  of  it ;  which  we  heartily  pray 
God  both  to  give  success  to,  and  graciously  to  accept 


of,  that  the  wickedness  which  is  not  prevented^  yet 
may  not  be  laid  to  the  charge  of  the  land,  nor  bring 
judgments  upon  the  community. 

But  it  is  our  duty  to  lament  the  wickedness  of  the 
wicked;  to  sigh  and  cry  for  the  abominations  that 
are  found  among  us ;  to  witness  against  them  in  our 
places ;  and,  so,  to  keep  ourselves  pure  from  them, 
and  to  do  our  utmost  by  our  prayers  and  endeavours 
to  bring  the  wickedness  of  the  vricked  to  an  end. 
And  thus  we  may  prevent  the  mischief  of  it  to  the 
nation,  and  empty  the  measure  which  others  are 
filling,  that  there  may  be  a  lengthening  out  of  our 
tranquillity. 

Now  we  are  reviewing  with  thankfulness  the  mer^ 
cies  of  the  year  past,  let  us  at  the  same  time  re- 
flect with  sorrow  and  shame  upon  the  sins  of  the 
year  past ;  our  own  sins,  I  mean,  for  it  is  enough 
for  us  to  judge  ourselves.  The  year  has  been  full 
of  goodness  on  God's  part,  but  very  empty  on  oars. 
He  has  not  been  as  a  barren  wilderness  to  us,  or  as 
waters  that  fail ;  but  we  have  been  so  to  him,  very 
careless  and  defective  in  our  duty,  and  in  many  in- 
stances we  have  come  short. 

Our  time  has  been  mispent,  our  opportunities 
not  improved ;  God  has  come  this  year  seeking  fruit 
among  us,  but  how  little  has  he  found !  God  brings 
our  years  to  an  end,  as  a  History  that  is  written, 
so  substantial  and  valuable  are  the  gifts  of  his  fa- 
vour to  us ;  but  we  bring  our  years  to  an  end  as  a 
tale  that  is  told,*"  so  idle,  and  trifling,  and  insignifi- 
cant are  we  in  our  carriage  toward  him. 

4.  Let  God's  goodness  to  us  engage,  and  increase, 
our  g^dness  to  one  another:  it  is  justly  expected, 
that  they  who  obtain  mercy  should  show  mercy,  and 
so  reflect  the  rays  of  the  divine  goodness  upon  all 
about  them ;  being  herein  followers  of  God  as  dear 
children  ;*  followers  of  him  that  is  goody^  in  his  good- 
ness. 

Let  God's  goodness  to  us  constrain  us,  as  we  have 
opportunity,  to  do  good  to  all  men  ;  to  do  good  with 
what  we  have  in  the  world,  as  faithful  stewards  of 
the  manifold  grace  of  God  ;  (charity  must  crown  a 
thanksgiving  day ;)  to  do  good  with  all  the  abilities 
God  gives  us,  remembering  that  the  manifestation 
of  the  Spirit  is  given  to  every  man  to  profit  withal. 

Let  it  particularly  incline  us  to  do  good  to  those 
from  whose  sentiments  ours  differ  in  the  less  weighty 
matters  of  the  law.  This  I  would  take  all  occasions 
to  press  upon  myself  and  others,  pursuant  to  the 
great  royal  law  of  charity.  There  is  an  infinite  dis- 
tance between  God  and  us,  and  a  just  controversy 
he  has  with  us,  and  yet  he  is  kind  to  us,  and  does  us 
good ;  and  cannot  we  then  be  kind  to  one  another, 
and  do  all  good  ofiices  one  to  another,  notwithstand- 
ing the  matters  in  variance  between  us?  How  ill 
does  it  become  us  to  bear  a  grudge  to  any  of  the 


P  Judg.  XV.  17. 


q  Judg.  XV.  19. 


r  Pb.  xc.  0.  •  Eph.  V.  1.  t  1  Pet  iii.  13. 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


745 


cbildreo  of  oar  people,  or  wish  ill  to  any,  who  are 
every  day  and  every  year  crowned  with  the  good- 
ness of  God,  and  are,  and  hope  to  be,  forgiven  of 
bim !  Let  not  oar  eye  be  evil  one  toward  another, 
II  hen  God's  eye  is  so  good  toward  as  all,  and  he  does 
thin^rs  for  as,  which  we  all  come  in  for  a  share  of 
the  benefit  of,  and  are  all  this  day  giving  thanks  for. 
Let  our  common  saccess  against  our  enemies  abroad, 
help  to  stay  all  enmities  at  home ;  and  let  all  our 
coDSciences  be  able  to  witness  for  us,  that  we  walk  in 
2or(,  and  keep  ike  unitff  of  tke  ipirit. 

4.  et  uU,  Let  this  year's  experience  help  to  sap- 
port  and  encoarage  next  year's  expectations.  Has 
God  crowned  as  with  his  goodness  this  year?  let  as 
thence  infer,  that  if  we  approve  ourselves  faithful  to 
God,  surely  goodness  and  mercy  shall  still  follow  us. 
And  our  hopes  ought  to  be  the  matter  of  our  praises 
as  well  as  our  joys.  Unto  tkee  do  we  give  tkankt, 
(sajs  the  Psalmist,)  unto  tkee  do  we  give  thanks ;  for 
that  thy  name  is  nemr,  thy  wondrous  works  declare,^ 
The  wondroos  works  we  are  this  day  giving  thanks 
for.  are  upon  this  account  the  more  valuable,  that 
they  give  as  ground  to  hope,  that  God's  name  is  near^ 
—the  advancement  of  his  kingdom, — and,  in  that, 
the  accomplishment  of  his  promise.  That  compre- 
hensive prayer,  Fat  her  ^  glorify  tky  name^  has  already 
obtained  an  answer  from  heaven, — which  true  be- 
lievers may  apply  to  themselves, — /  have  both  glori- 
fied I'r,  and  I  will  glorify  it  again,"  Amen,  so  be  it 
Hallehijah. 


ENGLAND'S    HOPES; 

A  SERMON. 


PREACHED 


JANUARY  THE  FIRST,  17067. 

Isaiah  Ixiii.  4. 
The  year  of  my  redeemed  is  come, 

A  NEW  year  is  now  come.  The  common  compliment 
of  the  morning  is,  **  I  wish  you  a  good  new  year ; " 
^  it  is  well ;  hearty  well-wishers  we  ought  to  be 
to  iht  welfare  one  of  another.  God  by  his  grace 
make  us  all  wiser  and  better,  and  give  us  to  live 
better  every  year  ;  better  this  year  than  we  did  the 
btst,— and  then  it  will  be  indeed  a  good  new  year, 
('ood  hearts  will  make  good  times  and  good  years. 
Have  any  of  yoa  had  any  good  purposes  and  re- 
solutions in  yoor  minds,  the  prosecution  whereof 
Us  hitherto  been  delayed  ?  put  it  off  no  longer.    Is 


B  Fl  Ixxv.  1. 
•  Exod.  x\.  2. 


▼  John  xii.  38. 
^  2  Chron.  xxlx.  17. 


the  house  of  Ood  yet  to  be  set  np  in  your  hearts,  the 
work  to  be  begun?  begin  it  to-day;  as  Moses  did, 
who,  on  the  first  day  of  the  first  month,  set  up  the 
tabernacle.*  Are  there  things  amiss  with  you  to  be 
amended,  corruptions  to  be  purged  out,  and  things 
wanting  to  be  set  in  order?  begin  this  day  to  re- 
fbrm ;  as  Hezekiah  did,  who,  on  the  first  day  of  the 
first  month,  began  to  sanctify  the  house  of  the  Lord:** 
so  will  yon  make  this  day  in  the  best  manner  re- 
markable, and  this  year  comfortable. 

But  that  which  at  present  I  aim  at,  is  to  direct  yoa 
— ^in  wbhing  a  good  year — ^to  .the  church  of  God, 
and  the  kingdom  of  Christ  in  the  world  ;  and,  par- 
ticularly, to  the  land  of  our  nativity ;  to  the  pros- 
perity of  which,  in  all  its  interests,  I  hope  every  one 
of  us  bears  a  very  hearty  good-will,  that  in  the  peace 
thereof  we  may  have  peace.  For  we  are  tnembers  one 
of  another. 

My  text  wonld  easily  lead  me  to  foretell  a  good 
year :  but  I  am  no  prophet,  nor  prophet's  son,  nor 
dare  I  ever  pretend  to  prediction  ;  nor  indeed,  can 
I  give  heed  to  any  other  but  the  most  sure  word  of 
prophecy  in  the  written  word,  which  is  a  light  shin- 
ing in  a  dark  place.«  Christ's  parting  words  to  his 
disciples  at  his  ascension,  is  sufficient  to  silence  all 
bold  inquiries,  and  much  more  all  presumptuous 
determinations,  concerning  future  events ;  it  is  not 
for  you  to  know  the  times  and  the  seasons,  whick  the 
Father  hath  put  in  his  own  powers  Astrological  pre- 
dictions I  utterly  condemn  ;  I  hope  you  know  better 
things  than  to  have  any  regard  to  them.  The  prophet 
Isaiah  speaks  of  the  astrologers,  the  star-gazers,  and 
the  monthly  prognosticators,  in  his  time,  as  great 
cheats,  that  imposed  upon  the  world.  The  heavens 
declare  the  glory  of  God  ;*  and  magnify  the  ro  yvtirov 
T8  Om, — that  which  is,  and  may  be,  known  of  God; 
but  were  never  intended  to  declare  the  will  of  God,' 
or  any  of  those  secret  things  which  belong  not  to  lu.r 
Scripture  prophecies  I  have  a  profound  veneration 
for,  and  of  admirable  use  they  are  to  give  us  a  gene- 
ral idea  of  the  methods  of  Providence  concerning 
the  church,  and  to  furnish  us  with  a  key  to  many  of 
the  difficulties  of  it,  and  thereby  to  assist  our  faith 
and  hope  in  the  worst  of  times.  But  the  particular 
intention  and  application  of  them,  till  the  event  un- 
folds them,  though  I  greatly  value  the  labours  of 
those  who  searched  into  them,  yet  to  me  it  seems 
higher  than  heaven,  what  can  we  do  ?  deeper  than  hell, 
what  can  we  know  ?  It  is  what  we  cannot  by  searching 
find  out  to  perfection,  or  to  satisfaction. 

My  design  therefore,  in  the  choice  of  this  text  to- 
day, is  not  to  gratify  your  curiosity  with  prognosti- 
cations of  what  shall  be ;  but  to  direct  your  prayers 
for  the  church  of  God,  and  to  offer  something  for 
the  assistance  of  your  faith  in  those  prayers.  For 
we  do  all  things,  dearly  beloved,  for  your  edifying,     I 


c  s^Pet  i.  19. 
f  Rom.  i.  19 


d  AcU  i.  7.  •  Ps.  six.  I. 

ff  Deut.  szix.  38l 


746 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


remember  the  rule  long  since  given  me,  with  refer- 
ence to  the  prospects  of  public  affairs,  and  shall 
still  abide  by  it,  **  Pray,  pray;  and  do  not  prophesy." 
We  may  be  sure  of  an  answer  to  the  prayers  of  faith, 
but  not  of  the  accomplishment  of  the  predictions  of 
fancy. 

Our  Lord  Jesus  has  taught  us  to  pray :  Our  Father 
who  art  in  heaven  !  thy  hingdam  come.  And  it  is  fit 
we  should  take  our  instructions  in  prayer  from  him, 
on  whose  intercession  we  depend  for  the  success  of 
our  prayers.  Now  when  we  pray,  Father,  let  thy 
kingdom  come,  this  is  one  thing  included  in  it,  and 
intended  by  it,  Father^  let  the  year  of  the  redeemed 
come.  Let  this  therefore  be  our  heart's  desire,  and 
our  prayer  to  our  heavenly  Father,  every  day. 

My  text  is  part  of  that  account  which  the  victo- 
rious Redeemer  gives  of  his  glorious  appearances 
against  his  and  his  church's  enemies,  represented  by 
the  Edomites,  whom  he  treads  down  in  hit  anger,  and 
tramples  upon  in  his  fury  ;^  and,  therein,  appears 
more  glorious  and  excellent  than  the  mountains  of 
prey>  Come,  and  with  an  eye  of  faith  see  the 
Lord  Jesus,  by  his  grace,  triumphing— over  sin  and 
corruption,  and  all  the  powers  of  Satan — in  the 
souls  of  believers,  under  whose  feet  he  will  shortly 
tread  that  great  enemy ,^  and  make  him  their  foot- 
stool,!  as  he  has  made  them  his  own.  Come,  and 
see  him,  by  his  providence,  triumphing  over  all 
anticbristian  powers  and  factions  in  the  world ; 
and  all  the  maintainers  and  upholders  of  the  devil's 
kingdom;  Pagan  formerly,  and  Mahometan  and 
papal  now :  putting  down  all  oppressing  rule,  prin- 
cipality, and  power,  till  he  has  completed  his  whole 
undertaking.  And  upon  the  sight  of  this,  let  every 
tongue  confess,  that  Jesus  Christ  is  Lord,  to  the 
glory  of  God  the  Father.  And  if  you  ask,  why 
Michael  and  his  angels  push  on  this  war  so  vigorously, 
and  at  such  a  vast  expense  of  blood  and  treasure  ? 
Michael  himself  shall  answer  you  in  the  text.  The 
year  of  my  redeemed  is  come ;  even  the  day  appointed 
of  the  Father  for  this  great  performance ;  that  day 
at  which,  as  Mr.  Norris  expresses  it  in  his  paraphrase 
on  this  passage,  "  Fate  folded  down  the  iron  leaf." 
Now  the  day  prefixed  is  come,  the  work  designed 
must  be  done,  whatever  it  costs:  The  Lord  shall 
arise  and  have  mercy  upon  Sion;for  the  time  to  favour 
her,  yea,  the  set  time,  is  eome,^ 

Let  us  observe  here, 

1.  That  the  church  and  people  of  God  are  Christ's 
redeemed, — the  ransomed  of  the  Lord;  so  they  are 
called  in  the  promise,  Isa.  xxxv.  10. — the  redeemed 
of  the  Lord;  so  they  are  called  upon  to  praise  him, 
Ps.  cvii.  2.  They  are  his  own ;  he  is  entitled  to  them, 
as  his  own  ;  and  as  his  own,  they  are  very  dear  to 
him.  He  formed  them  for  himself.  He  bought  them 
for  himself,  and  paid  dear  for  them ;  shed  bis  blood. 


h  Deut.  xxix.  3 
k  Rom.  xvi.  9. 


t  Ps.  Ixxvi.  4. 
I  Ps.  ex.  1. 


his  precious  blood,  to  purchase  them,  and  purify 
them  to  himself;  gave  his  life,  an  invaluable  price, 
a  ransom  for  them.  They  were  sold  by  the  guilt  of 
sin,  to  the  justice  of  God;  had  sold  themselves,  by 
their  affection  to  it,  unto  the  dominion  of  Satan ; 
but  out  of  both  these  bonds  Christ  h  as  effectually  pro- 
vided for  their  discharge  and  deliverance. 

He  calls  them,  here,  his  redeemed — ^though  as  jet 
their  redemption  was  not  wrought  out,  and  obtained, 
by  the  bringing  in  of  the  everlasting  righteousness — 
because  he  had  undertaken  to  redeem  them,  and  the 
work  would  as  surely  be  effected,  in  the  fulness  of 
time,  as  if  it  were  done  already.  Thus,  when  the 
gospel  was  first  preached  in  Corinth,  and  but  few 
of  that  place  were  effectually  called,  yet  Christ  said, 
/  have  much  people  in  this  cityJ^  They  are  mine 
already ;  for  the  Lord  hnoweth  them  that  are  his,  and 
will  lose  none  of  them. 

It  is  the  honour  of  good  people  that  they  belong 
to  Christ  :•  they  are  his,  and  shall  be  owned  as  his 
in  that  day  when  he  makes  up  his  jewels ;  but  they 
have  no  reason  to  be  proud  of  this  honour,  for,  by 
this,  boasting  is  for  ever  excluded ;  That  they  bad 
not  been  his,  if  he  had  not  bought  them :  they  must 
be  redeemed  ere  they  could  be  preferred.  Where 
is  boasting  then  ?  We  are  bought,  and  therefore  still 
bound ;  bought  with  a  price,  and  therefore  must  not 
be  our  own,  but  his  who  bought  us ;  to  him  we  must 
live,  and  not  to  ourselves. 

2.  That  there  is  a  time  fixed,  concerning  them, 
which  is  the  year  of  the  redeemed ;  when  their 
Redeemer  will  do  great  things  for  them.  A  year 
which  shall  introduce  a  bright  and  glorious  scene ; 
which  shall  be  crowned  with  their  salvation.  A 
year  of  jubilee  to  them,  (to  which  it  seems  to  allude,) 
when. they  shall  be  discharged  from  their  servitude, 
and  restored  to  the  glorious  liberty  and  inheritance 
of  the  children  of  God;  which  will  be  indeed  to  them 
the  acceptable  year  of  the  Lord. 

This  is  fixed,  in  the  council  and  decree  of  God ; 
which  he  has  purposed  in  himself;  and  in  which  he 
has  determined  all  the  times  before  appointed ;  par- 
ticularly the  times  concerning  his  church,  which  is 
his  garden  enclosed,  his  Segullah,  his  peculiar  trea- 
sure in  the  world,  about  which  his  providence* 
through  all  the  revolutions  of  time,  is  in  a  special 
manner  conversant ;  and  therefore  his  purposes  from 
eternity  were  so.  The  affairs  of  the  church  were 
not  left  to  the  disposal  of  blind  chance.  The  wheels 
on  which  it  moves  are  animated  by  the  spirit  of  the 
living  creature ;'  and  there  are  eyes  in  the  wheels,  a 
wise  providence  that  directs  all  for  the  best,  accord- 
ing to  the  divine  will,  and  the  settled  counsels  of 
that  will.  The  Eternal  Mind  never  make!  a  tran- 
sition to  new  measures,  never  takes  up  new  resolves ; 
hnowfi  vnto  God  are  all  his  works,  and  all  ours  too. 


Ps  cii.  la 

•  Mait  ix.  41. 


B  AcU  xTiii.  10. 
V  Ezek.  I  2a 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


747 


the  erents  themselves,  and  the  times  of  them,  from 
tie  beifinnin^  of  the  world.  Which  yields  an  un- 
speakable satisfaction  to  all  those  who  have  but  so 
much  reasan  and  religion  as  to  believe,  that  God 
knows  what  is  fit  to  be  done,  and  when,  better  than 
we  do,  and  that  his  time  is,  without  doubt,  the  best 
time. 

The  providences  of  God  concerning  Israel  of  old, 
as  well  as  their  ordinances,  were  typical ;  and  things 
happened  to  them  for  ensmmples  or  patterns  of  the 
great  salvation  to  be  wrought  in  and  for  the  gospel- 
cfaarch.  Many  a  time  was  Israel  afflicted,  from 
their  youth  up  ;  many  a  time  in  the  house  of  bond- 
age ;  but  still  there  was  a  year  fixed  for  their  re- 
demption, vrhen  their  warfare  or  appointed  time 
should  be  accomplished,*!  and  deliverance  should  be 
wrought  for  them.  The  year  was  fixed  for  their 
redemption  out  of  Egypt ;  and  God  kept  time  to  a 
day ;  A  t  the  end  of  the  four  hundred  and  thirty  yeo.rs, 
ffCH  the  Meif-same  day^  they  went  out  triumphantly/ 
The  year  was  likewise  fixed  for  their  return  out  of 
tiicir  captivity  in  Babylon  ;  when  seventy  years 
«ere  accomplished  in  the  desolations  of  Jerusalem." 
And  the  distresses  of  the  New-Testament  church 
are  in  like  manner  limited  to  a  iime^  times,  and  half 
a  time ;  which,  if  we  know  not  how  to  compute  with 
any  certainty  or  exactness,  yet,  we  may  with  the 
neatest  assurance  infer  from  it,that  Infinite  Wisdom 
ha^  fixed  the  time,  though  it  is  not  for  us  to  know 
it.  Times  ore  not  hidden  from  the  Almighty  y  though 
(key  thai  hnow  Aim  do  not  as  yet  see  Ids  day,^  nor  fore- 
sec  it, 

3.  That  the  year  of  the  redeemed  will  come ;  though 
it  may  be  long  first,  long  wished  for,  long  waited 
for.  yet  it  will  come  at  last.  Concerning  the  thing 
itself,  we  may  be  clear,  we  may  be  confident, 
though  concerning  the  time  we  may  be  in  doubt, 
and  in  the  dark.  Though  many  years  intervene 
between  this,  and  the  year  of  the  redeemed,  and 
those,  perhaps,  dark,  and  cloudy,  and  melancholy 
Tears,  years  in  which  we  see  evil,"  yet  the  days  of 
afiliction  and  captivity  will  be  numbered  and  finish- 
ed, and  the  years  of  servitude  will  come  to  an  end ; 
hitherto  it  shall  come,  but  no  further;  so  long  it 
shall  last,  but  no  longer.  God  will  have  mercy  on 
Jerusalem  and  the  cities  of  Judah,  though  he  has  had 
indignation  against  them  threescore  and  ten  years  ;'' 
and  he  will  make  them  glad  with  the  joys  of  his  sal- 
TTition,  in  some  proportion  to  the  days  wherein  he  has 
tjfiieted  them. 

Observe  with  what  an  air  of  triumph  and  exalt- 
atioQ  the  Redeemer  himself  here  speaks  of  this  great 
day  ;  as  one  who  longed  to  engage  the  enemy,  and 
rescue  the  beloved  of  his  soul,  and  who  almost  grew 

impatient  of  the  delay.    He  cannot  anticipate  the 

* 

^  laa.  xL  2.  r  Exod.  xU.  41.  •  Dan.  ix.  3. 

t  Job  xxir.  1.  a  Ps.  xc.  15. 

*  Zeeh.  i.  IS.  w  Zech.  vi.  i. 


time.  The  divine  counsels  are  as  mountains  of 
brass,*  which  can  neither  move  nor  moulder ;  but 
when  the  wheels  of  his  chariot,  which  have  been  so 
long  in  coming,  arrive  at  last,  how  welcome  are  they ! 
Now  the  year  of  my  redeemed  is  come  ;  it  is  come. 
And,  Loyleome,  With  this  shout  does  the  Lord  himself 
descend  from  heaven,  ride  upon  the  wings  of  the  wind,* 
and  make  the  mountains  flow  at  his  presence.'  With 
this  does  the  Lord  awake  himself  as  one  out  of  sleep, 
and  like  a  mighty  man  that  shouteth  by  reason  of 
wine ;«  The  year  of  my  redeemer  is  come.  Now,  XpwoQ 
oiK  t^ai  in-— Time,  that  is,  delay,  shall  he  no  longer.* 
Now  will  I  arise ;  now  shall  the  everlasting  arm  be 
made  bare.  Now  shalt  thou  see  what  I  will  do  to 
Pharaoh. 

Now  for  the  more  distinct  improvement  of  this, 
let  me  apply  it,  both  to  the  universal  church  of  the 
redeemed,  the  whole  family,  in  every  age ;  and  to 
particular  churches,  and  the  interests  of  the  king- 
dom of  Christ,  in  some  special  time  and  place. 

(1.)  Let  me  briefly  apply  it  to  the  whole  mystical 
body  of  Christ,  the  universal  church  of  the  redeemed ; 
in  which  we  have  cast  our  lot ;  and  hope  to  have  a 
place  and  a  name  in  the  general  assembly  of  all 
who  belong  to  it  And  understanding  it  of  this, 
there  are  two  which  above  all  the  rest  may  be  called 
the  years  of  the  redeemed ;  one  long  since  past,  the 
other  yet  to  come. 

[1.]  The  year  of  Christ's  dying  was  the  great  year 
of  the  redeemed,  and  that  on  which  all  the  rest  de- 
pend ;  from  the  salvation  then  wrought,  the  found- 
ation was  laid  on  which  all  the  other  more  particular 
salvations  of  the  church  are  built  Therefore,  in  the 
Apocalypse,  the  Lamb  that  was  to  make  war  with  the 
beast,  and  to  overcome  him,  appeared  as  a  Lamb  tliat 
had  been  slain.^  And  it  is  by  the  blood  of  the  Lamb 
that  the  victory  is  said  to  be  obtained.'  And  many 
understand  the  text  of  that  year  of  the  redeemed, 
when  Christ  by  death  destroyed  him  who  had  the 
power  of  death ;  trod  the  winepress  of  his  Father's 
wrath  alone,  and  stained  all  his  raiment,  both  with 
his  own  blood,  and  with  the  blood  of  his  enemies. 

Then  was  the  price  paid  down ;  upon  the  under- 
taking of  which,  the  great  Redeemer  was  trusted 
with  the  salvation  of  all  the  Old-Testament  saints ; 
and  for  which  all  who  in  every  age  believe  in  him 
should  be  justified  and  accepted.  Then  the  chosen 
remnant  was  purchased,  and  eternal  life  purchased 
for  them  ;  then  principalities  and  powers  were 
spoiled,  and  a  show  made  of  them  openly;'  the 
strong  man  armed  disarmed,  stript,  and  triumphed 
over.  To  that  victory  all  the  victories  of  faith  are 
owing;  for  we  are  more  than  conquerors  through 
him  that  loved  us. 

The  time  was  fixed  for  this  great  and  glorious 


z  Ps,  xriii.  0, 10. 

a  Rev.  X.  6. 
c  Rev.  xii.  II* 


r  laa.  Ixiv.  3.  «  Ps.  Ixxvili.  65. 

b  Rev.  V.  6. 
d  Col.  ii.  lA. 


748 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


achievement;  fixed  in  that  detenninate  counsel  and 
fore-knowledge  of  God,  by  which  that  sacrifice  was 
delivered  up;  fixed  in  the  Old-Testament  predic- 
tions, from  that  of  the  "  Seed  of  the  woman,  which 
should  break  the  serpent's  head,*  "  to  that  of*  Messiah 
the  Prince,  who  at  the  period  of  the  seventy  weeks 
should  finish  transgression,  and  make  an  end  of  sin, 
by  making  reconciliation  for  iniquity,  and  bringing  in 
an  everlasting  righteousness.''*  It  was  fixed  to  a  day, 
it  was  fixed  to  an  hour :  how  often  did  Christ  speak 
of  it  with  that  exactness :  Mine  hour  is  not  yet  come, 
and  when  it  was  come.  This  is  your  hour. 

Long  was  it  looked  for  by  them  who  waited  for 
the  redemption; 9  and  more  earnestly  by  him  that 
was  to  work  out  the  redemption,  who,  having  this 
baptism  to  be  baptized  with,  was  even  straitened  till 
it  was  accomplished.*^  It  came  at  last :  Blessed  is  he 
that  Cometh.  And  of  all  the  years  that  God  has 
crowned  with  his  goodness,  that  was,  without  doubt, 
the  greatest  of  all  that  every  day  and  night  measured 
since  the  clock  of  time  was  set  in  motion.  And 
though  they  who  were  to  have  the  benefit  of  the  re- 
demption slumbered  and  slept,  and  were  not  duly 
sensible  of  the  vast  importance  of  what  was  then 
doing  till  afterwards,  when  the  Spirit  was  poured 
out  upon  them,  yet  he  that  was  to  be  at  the  ex- 
pense of  it,  and  foresaw  how  the  great  affair  of 
man's  redemption — and,  perhaps,  the  angel's  confir- 
mation— was  to  turn  upon  that  mighty  hinge,  tri- 
umphed and  was  transported,  when  he  said  in  the 
beginning  of  the  battle.  Now  is  my  soul  troubled,  but 
now  is  the  judgment  of  this  world;  now  is  the  prince 
of  this  world  cast  out ;'  and  in  the  close  of  the  battle, 
when  he  knew  what  an  irreparable  blow  be  had 
given  to  the  devil's  kingdom.  It  is  finished.^  This 
was  that  year  of  the  redeemed  which  we  frequently 
celebrate  the  memorial  of  with  joy,  at  the  table  of 
the  Lord. 

[2.]  The  year  of  Christ's  second  coming  to  judge 
the  world,  is  that  great  year  of  the  redeemed  which  is 
yet  to  come ;  that  true  Platonic  year,  which  will 
be,  though  not  the  repetition,  yet  the  review  and  re- 
tribution, of  all  that  is  past.  And  as  in  our  ob- 
servance of  the  great  institution  of  the  Eucharist, 
that  proprium — appropriate  rite,  of  our  holy  religion, 
and  peculiar  badge  of  our  Christianity,  we  look  as 
far  back  as  that  year  of  the  redeemed  which  is  past, 
showing  forth  the  Lord's  death  ;  so  we  look  as  far 
forward  as  that  year  of  the  redeemed  which  we  are 
yet  in  expectation  of,  showing  it  forth  till  he  come. 

This  year  of  the  redeemed,  which  will  be  crowned 
with  the  greatness  of  God,  as  other  years  have  been 
with  his  goodness,  is  fixed  in  the  divine  counsels ; 
unalterably  fixed,  fixed  to  a  day ;  for  he  hath  ap- 
pointed a  day,  in  which  he  will  judge  the  world  in 


•  Gen.  iii.  15.     fDan.  ix.34.     tLukeii.  3&      hLukexii.  50. 
1  John  xii.  27.  k  John  xli.  31.  i  Acta  xvii.  31. 


righteousness ; '  and  a  great  and  terrible  day  it  will 
be.  God,  by  his  grace,  make  us  all  ready  for  it,  that 
he  who  shall  then  appear  may  appear  to  our  joy.  It 
is  fixed,  but  it  is  not  revealed ;  it  is  not  fit  it  should, 
nor  agreeable  to  that  state  of  probation  and  expect- 
ation we  are  now  in.  It  is  fixed,  and  it  will  come, 
it  will  certainly  come,  to  the  unspeakable  confusion 
of  all  those  who  slight  the  warnings  of  it,  and  the 
everlasting  consolation  of  all  those  who  embrace  the 
promise  of  it.  As  sure  as  this  year  is  come,  that 
year  wiU  come,  and  you  and  I  shall  see  it ;  tjt  our 
flesh  resumed  we  shall  see  it;  shall  see  the  tenors, 
shall  see  the  triumphs,  of  that  day,  and,  according  as 
we  are  found  then,  shall  certainly  and  eternally 
share  either  in  the  one  or  in  the  other. 

That,  that  will  be  the  year  of  the  redeemed ;  in 
which  all  our  hopes  and  prospects,  which  in  our 
present  state  are  still  kept  moving  forward,  one  event 
serving  only  to  raise  our  expectation  of  the  next, 
will  come  to  a  full  period.  Then  we  shall  see  the 
final  end  of  all  those  things,  which  here  we  are  so 
solicitous  and  inquisitive  about."  And  a  blessed 
end  it  will  certainly  be  to  all  the  redeemed  of  the 
Lord;  who  will  in  that  day  lift  up  their  heads  and 
hearts  with  joy,  never  to  despond  or  be  dejected 
again,  knowing  that  their  redemption  in  its  open 
declaration,  and  full  perfection,  draweth  nigh." 

All  the  redeemed  who  are  now  scattered  and  dis- 
persed over  the  face  of  the  whole  earth,  will  then  be 
gathered  together  into  one  body ;  and  a  great  and  glo- 
rious body  it  will  be ;  to  be  presented  to  the  Father 
without  spot,  or  wrinkle,  or  any  such  thing  ;  and  to 
grace  their  Redeemer's  triumphs,  as  the  trophies  of 
his  victory  over  the  powers  of  darkness,  that  had 
held  them  captive,  that  he  may  be  glorified  in  his 
saints,  and  admired  in  all  them  that  believe.''  A  gene- 
ral rendezvous  it  will  be  of  all  that  ever  approved 
themselves  good  soldiers  of  Jesus  Christ,  when  the 
Captain  of  our  salvation  p  shall  produce  all  who  were 
given  him ;  they  shall  every  one  answer  to  their 
names,  and  not  one  be  missing. 

All  the  enemies  of  the  redeemed  will  then  be  con- 
quered and  brought  down,  and  death  itself,  that 
last  enemy,  shall  be  destroyed,  and  swallowed  up 
in  victory.  The  devil,  with  all  those  whom  he  has 
decoyed  into  his  interest,  will  then,  by  the  almighty 
power  of  that  God,  whose  the  deceived  and  the  de^ 
ceiver  are,^  be  cast  into  the  lake  of  fire^  and  the  re- 
deemed will  be  set  for  ever  out  of  the  reach  of  all 
their  enemies.  Then  shall  the  redemption  of  the 
soul  be  perfected,  in  the  redemption  of  the  body 
from  the  power  of  the  grave,  and  that  captivity  led 
captive.* 

But  that  which,  above  all,  will  denominate  it  the 
year  of  the  redeemed,  is,  that  then  the  ransomed  of 


Dan.  xii.  8.    n  Luke  xxi.  28.    o  2  Thcas.  1. 10.    p  Heb.  il.  lo. 
q  Job  xii.  le.  r  Rev.  xx.  10.  «  Rom.  viii.  33. 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


749 


the  Lard  shall  return^  and  eame  to  Stan  with  iongt  of 
praise;  everlasting  joy  shall  fill  their  hearts,  and 
crovn  their  heads  ;  and  sorrow  and  sighing,  those 
cloads  which  in  this  world  are  still  returning  after 
the  rain,  shall  be  finally  dismissed,  and  flee  away 
for  ever.*  The  redeemed  of  the  Lord,  by  virtue  of 
their  union  with  the  Redeemer,  will  then  sit  down 
TJth  him  upon  his  throne,  as  he  overcame,  and  is 
set  down  with  his  Father  upon  his  throne,  and  reign 
with  him  for  ever. 

This  is  the  year  of  the  redeemed ;  for  it  is  the  year 
which  their  hearts  are  upon,  which,  according  to  the 
promise,  they  look  for,  and  have  an  eye  to,  in  all 
their  present  services,  sufferings,  and  struggles.  It 
will  be  the  crown  and  satisfaction  of  their  faith  and 
hope,  and  the  perpetual  perfection  of  all  their  joys 
and  honours. 

Think,  my  brethren,  think  seriously,  what  that 
year  of  the  redeemed  will  be  to  you.  How  will  the 
archangeFs  trumpet  sound  in  your  ears  ?  will  it  be  a 
joyful  or  a  dreadful  sound  ?  To  them  that  obey  the 
gospel,  and  live  up  to  it,  it  will  proclaim  liberty  and 
bonoar ;  but  against  them  who  are  unbelieving  and 
disobedient,  it  will  denounce  war  and  ruin.  That 
great  day  will  be  coronation  day  to  the  former,  but 
execution  day  to  the  latter.  We  none  of  us  know 
hot  this  year  of  which  we  now  see  the  beginning  may 
be  the  year  of  our  death  ;  if  it  should  be  so,  will  it 
be  the  year  of  our  redemption  ?  And  can  we,  as  such, 
bid  it  welcome,  and  heartily  say  farewell  to  this 
worid?  Workout  your  salvation  with  fear  and  trem^ 
hUng^  and  then  you  may  look  for  death  and  judg- 
ment with  joy  and  rejoicing.  Spend  your  time 
well,  and  then  no  doubt  but  you  shall  spend  your 
eternity  well ;  and  the  year  of  the  redeemed  will 
be  the  year  of  your  eternal  redemption. 

(2.)  Let  me  more  largely  apply  it  to  the  militant 
cborch ;  and  the  particular  parts  and  branches  of 
Christ's  kingdom  in  the  world,  and  their  states  and 
bterests,  those  especially  with  which  we  are  best 
acquainted,  and  in  which  we  are  most  nearly  con- 
cerned. 

1  was  yesterday  endeavouring,  as  well  as  I  could, 
to  excite  your  holy  joys  and  thankful  praises  for  the 
great  things  God  has  of  late  done  for  us,  and  our 
allies,  whom  he  crowned,  the  last  year,  with  his 
goodness :  I  would  to-day  say  something  for  the  en- 
couragement of  your  faith  and  hope  in  God,  con- 
cerning the  events  of  the  year  ensuing,  and  of  your 
earnest  prayers  to  God  that  it  may  prove  one  of  the 
years  of  the  redeemed. 

It  is  no  new  thing  for  the  church  of  Christ  upon 
earth  to  be  in  distress  and  bondage,  and  to  stand  in 
need  of  redemption,  notwithstanding  the  great  re- 
demption from  sin  and  hell,  which  the  Lord  Jesus 
has  wrought  out    It  is  always  militant,  it  is  often 

t  Isa.  XMXT.  10. 


afflicted,  tossed  with  tempests,  and  not  comforted ; 
and  Sion  constrained  to  dwell  with  the  daughters  of 
Babylon."  Israel  had  many  enemies,  was  often  in 
the  hands,  often  under  the  feet,  of  their  enemies ;  and 
the  redemption  of  Israel  was  often  prayed  for,  and 
often  promised ;  much  more  reason  has  the  gospel 
church  (that  never  had  so  many  promises  made  to 
it,  relating  to  the  life  that  now  is,  as  the  Old-Testa- 
ment church  had)  to  expect  trouble  in  this  world  ; 
to  be  fought  against,  and  to  suffer  persecution ;  in 
conformity  to  the  example  of  its  head. 

The  book  of  the  Revelations  gives  us  intimation 
enough  of  troublesome  times  that  were  to  pass  over 
the  Church ;  and  though  it  should  be  allowed  doubt- 
ful who  the  enemy  is  that  is  there  described,  yet  it 
is  past  dispute,  that  there  should  arise  an  enemy,  a 
powerful  and  dangerous  one,  who  should  make  war 
with  those  that  keep  the  commandments  of  God,  and 
the  testimony  of  Jesus  Christ  i^  so  that  we  are  not 
to  think  it  strange,  no,  not  concerning  the  fiery  trial, 
if  the  best  of  God's  saints  and  servants  be  called  out 
to  it,  as  though  some  strange  thing  happened.  Be- 
hold, Christ  has  told  us  before,  that  when  it  comes 
it  may  be  no  surprise  or  offence  to  us. 

But  there  will  come  a  year  of  redemption  for  those 
who  suffer  in  the  cause  of  Christ;  God  willnoU  and 
men  shall  not,  contend  for  ever ;  nor  shall  the  rod  of 
the  wicked  rest  always  upon  the  lot  of  the  righteous, 
though  it  may  rest  long  there.  It  is  the  state  of  some 
of  the  reformed  churches  abroad,  especially  those 
of  France,  that  I  have  upon  my  heart,  and  had  in 
my  eye  in  the  choice  of  this  text.  The  year  of  their 
deliverance,  whenever  it  comes,  I  must  call  the  year 
of  the  redeemed. 

The  excellent  Archbishop  Tillotson,  in  a  sermon, 
on  Rev.  xiv.  13.  plainly  intimates  his  suspicion^ 
that  the  French  king  is  that  second  beast  described 
(Rev.  xiii.  11.)  with  two  horns,  France  and  Navarre^ 
speaking  like  a  dragon,  which  (says  he)  may  point 
at  a  particular  sort  of  armed  soldiers  called  dragons, 
or  dragoons :  and  the  number  six  hundred  sixty-six 
in  the  name  LUDoVICUs :  and  that  the  persecu- 
tion of  the  French  protestants,  in  that  last  and  great 
persecution,  is  there  foretold.  And  in  another  ser- 
mon before  King  William  and  Queen  Mary  in  the 
year  1692,  makes  him  the  present  great  supporter  of 
the  mystical  Babylon.  And  if  so,  a  deliverance  from 
under  his  tyranny  may  well  be  prayed  and  hoped 
for,  in  the  year  of  the  redeemed. 

[Since  the  preaching  of  this,  I  have  with  much 
pleasure  received  encouragement  to  my  hopes,  and 
been  confirmed  in  my  choice  of  this  subject,  for  an 
appendix  to  the  thanksgiving,  by  that  excellent 
discourse  of  the  worthy  Bishop  of  Sarum,  before 
the  Queen  and  both  Houses  of  parliament,  on  the 
Thanksgiving- day,  in  which  he  lays  so  much  stress 


n  Zecb.  ii.  7. 


'  Rev  x\i.  17. 


760 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


upon  the  French  king^s  barbarous  usage  of  bis  pro- 
testant  subjects,  in  his  description  of  him  as  an 
oppressor,  whom  it  wili  be  the  glory  of  a  good  prince 
to  help  to  break  in  pieces :  and  he  tells  that  august 
assembly, ''  That  till  the  exiles  are  recalled,  till  the 
prisoners  are  set  at  liberty,  till  the  edicts  that  were 
their  inheritance  are  revived,  and  compensation  is 
made  for  the  precious  blood  that  has  been  shed 
among  them ;  till  the  oppressor  is  so  bounded,  that 
his  own  people  are  secured  from  oppression,  and 
his  neighbours  from  invasion ;  till  this  is  done,  it 
is  reasonable  to  hope,  that  man  will  say  as  God  has 
said.  There  it  no  peace  to  the  wicked."  God  keep 
that  word  always  in  the  imagination  of  the  thoughts 
of  their  hearts,  to  whom  it  was  spoken,  and  establish 
their  way  before  him.] 

Four  tilings  it  will  be  proper  for  us  to  inquire  into, 
concerning  the  year  of  the  redeemed  which  we  are 
hoping,  and  praying,  and  waiting  for.  I.  What  the 
year  of  the  redeemed  will  be,  and  what  we  expect 
to  be  included  in  it.  II.  What  ground  we  have  to 
believe  that  it  will  come,  some  time.  III.  What 
encouragement  we  have  to  hope  that  it  will  come 
quickly.    IV .  What  is  our  duty  in  reference  hereto. 

I.  What  we  may  expect  the  year  of  the  redeemed 
will  be,  which  according  to  his  promise  we  may 
look  for.    You  shalt  see  it  in  three  things: 

1.  The  year  of  recompence  for  the  controversy  of 
Sion,  will  be  the  year  of  the  redeemed.  Such  a  year 
we  read  of,  (Isa.  xxxiv.  8.)  and  it  is  parallel  to  this 
here,  for  it  explains  the  day  of  vengeance,  which  is 
here  said  to  be  in  the  heart  of  the  victorious  Re- 
deemer. Therefore  the  sword  that  is  bathed  in  Aenven, 
shall  come  down  upon  Idumea,  the  people  of  God's 
eursCf  because  it  is  the  year  of  recompence  for  the 
controversy  of  Sion. 

God  espouses  Sion's  cause,  does  and  will  plead 
it  with  jealousy  :^  his  church  is  dear  to  him  as  the 
apple  of  his  eye,'  and,  therefore,  he  has  a  contro- 
versy with  those  who  are  injurious  to  his  people ; 
and  sooner  or  later  he  will  reckon  with  them,  and 
vidll  avenge  his  own  elect,  who  cry  day  and  night  to 
him,  though  he  bear  long.^^  He  has  a  righteous 
quarrel  with  them,  and  he  will  avenge  that  quarrel. 
Barbarous  and  unrighteous  wars  fill  the  measure  of 
a  nation's  sins ;  and  are  that  fourth  transgression^ 
for  which,  when  it  is  added  to  other  three,  God  will 
not  turn  away  the  punishmefit  of  a  people,  as  is  inti- 
mated, (Amos  i.  6,  9, 11,  13.)  where  for  three  trans- 
gressions, and  then  this  as  the  fourth,  God  will 
reckon  with  Gaaea,  Tyre,  Edom,  Ammon,  and  Moab, 
because  they  had  delivered  up  the  whole  captivity, 
had  pursued  with  the  sword,  and  cast  off  all  pity, 
particularly  had  ript  up  the  women  with  child:  would 
not  God  visit  for  these  things,  should  not  his  soul  be 
avenged  on  such  a  nation  as  this  ?  But  barbarous 


Zecb.  i.  14. 

7  Luke  xvili.  7. 


sZech.  ii.8. 
•  Joel  iii.  U. 


persecutions  for  righteousness'  sake,  are  yet  mor« 
provoking :  all  innocent  blood  is  precious  to  God« 
and  inquisition  will  be  made  for  it ;  but  the  blood 
of  the  saints,  and  the  blood  of  the  martyrs  of  Jesus, 
is  in  a  special  manner  precious  to  him,  and  not  a 
drop  of  it  shall  be  shed  but  it  shall  be  reckoned  for. 

The  great  day  of  recompence  for  Sion's  contro- 
versy will  be  at  the  end  of  time,  in  the  valley  of 
decision*  when  the  long  depending  controversy,  after 
many  struggles,  will  at  length  be  determined  ;  when 
everlasting  tribulation  shall  be  recompensed  by  the 
Lord  Jesus,  to  them  that  troubled  his  church,  and 
to  them  who  were  troubled,  everlasting  rest.^  The 
Lord  hasten  that  glorious  day,  and  make  as  ready 
for  it ! 

But  we  may  expect  that  it  will  be  done,  in  part, 
in  this  world.  When  God  shall  have  performed  his 
whole  work  upon  mount  Sion,  and  upon  Jerusalem, 
his  humbling,  reforming  work  upon  them,  he  will 
then  perform  his  saving  work  for  them,  and  will 
punish  the  fruit  of  the  stout  heart  of  the  king  of 
Assyria,  and  the  glory  of  his  high  looks  :**  the  zeal 
of  the  Lord  of  hosts  shall  do  this.  All  the  wTongs 
done  to  Sion  will  be  returned  to  those  who  did  them, 
and  the  cup  of  trembling  will  be  taken  out  of  the 
hand  of  the  oppressed,  and  put  into  the  hand  of  the 
oppressor.^  The  arm  of  the  Lord  will  awake  as  in 
the  days  of  old,  and  will  put  on  strength ;  that 
mighty  arm  that  humbled  Pharaoh,  Sennacherib, 
Nebuchadnezzar,  Herod,  Julian,  and  other  the 
proud  enemies  of  his  church,  will  be  made  bare,  in 
our  day,  against  the  successors  of  these  sons  of 
pride  and  violence.  The  papal  kingdom  in  general, 
that  has  for  many  ages  been  so  barbarously  oppress- 
ive to  the  faithful  worshippers  of  God,  and  the 
French  tyranny  in  particular,  that  has  been  remark- 
ably so  in  our  days,  are  the  enemies,  with  whom,  I 
think,  God  has  a  controversy  on  Sion's  behalf,  and 
the  day  will  come  that  he  will  plead  it 

His  controversy  is, 

(1.)  For  the  sons  of  Sion,  whom  they  [the  perse- 
cutors] have  abused;  the  precious  sons  of  Sion, 
comparable  to  fine  gold ;  who  have  not  only  been 
despised  and  thrown  by  as  vessels  in  which  tiiere  is 
no  pleasure,  but  trodden  down  and  broken  to  pieces 
as  earthen  pitchers,  the  work  of  the  hands  of  the 
potter.<*  How  many  excellent  ministers  and  Chris- 
tians have  been  sacrificed  to  the  pride  and  malice 
of  the  church  of  Rome,  and  with  a  rage  reaching  up 
to  heaven,  numbered  to  the  sword  as  sheep  for  the 
slaughter!  and  the  survivors  either  miserably  en- 
slaved in  the  galleys,  and  there  dying  daily,  or  buried 
alive  in  dungeons,  or  forced  to  beg  their  bread  in 
strange  countries:  and  shall  not  this  be  recom- 
pensed ? 

(2.)  For  the  songs  of  Sion,  which  they  have  pro> 


»  2  Thess.  i.  6, 7. 
elsa.  H.12,  sa 


b  Isa.  X.  IS. 
<i  Lam.  iv.  2. 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


761 


faned.  This  head  is  suggested  by  that  instance  of 
the  Babylonians'  insolence,  and  contempt  of  the 
Jews  and  their  religion,  when  they  upbraided  them 
ID  their  captivity  with  the  songs  of  Sion :  and,  for 
this,  it  follows.  Daughter  of  Babylon,  thou  art  to  be 
destroyed,*  The  contempt  cast  upon  the  pure  wor- 
ship of  God  as  heretical,  and  the  jest  made  of  sacred 
thiogSfis  what  God  will  reckon  for. 

(3.)  For  the  powers  of  Sion's  king,  which  they 
have  usurped.  All  the  anointed  offices  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  aie  boldly  invaded  by  the  papacy.  His  pro- 
phetical office,  by  setting  up  an  infallibility  in  pope 
or  councils;  his  kingly  office,  by  setting  up  the 
supremacy  of  the  bishop  of  Rome  over  all  churches, 
and  giving  him  the  power  of  Christ's  vicar,  or  his 
rival  rather,  upon  earth ;  and  his  priestly  office,  by 
making  the  mass  a  propitiatory  sacrifice  for  sin,  and 
saints  and  angels  mediators  between  God  and  man. 
And  shall  not  the  crown  of  the  exalted  Redeemer 
be  supported  against  these  usurpations  ? 

(4.)  For  the  pleasant  things  of  Sion's  palaces 
whif  h  they  have  laid  waste.  God  will  reckon  for 
the  many  churches  they  have  demolished,  the  solemn 
assemblies  they  have  scattered,  the  administration  of 
ordinances  they  have  restrained,  and  the  fountains 
of  living  water  they  have  stopped  up.  God  keeps 
an  account  of  all  the  mischief  of  this  kind  done  at 
anj  time  by  the  papal  power  and  its  adherents,  and 
will  bring  it  all  into  the  reckoning  when  the  year  of 
rtoompences  comes. 

2.  The  year  of  release  for  God's  captives,  will  be 
the  year  of  the  redeemed ;  and  this  is  the  year  we  are 
wailing  for.  While  we  enjoy  our  liberties  and  op- 
portanities,  in  peace  and  without  check,  we  ought 
to  remember  them  who  are  in  bonds,  and  to  pray  for 
the  turning  again  of  their  captivity  ae  the  streams  in 
the  south. 

(1.)  Oppressed  consciences,  we  long  to  hear  of 
the  release  of.  Of  the  many  that  through  the  force 
of  persecution  have  been  brought  to  put  forth  their 
hands  unto  iniquity,  we  hope  there  are  some  who 
have  not  put  forth  their  hearts  to  it ;  but  if  the  force 
were  taken  off,  would  return  to  the  true  religion, 
which  they  have  in  word  renounced.  The  triumphs 
of  tyranny  over  those  pretended  converts  cannot  be 
thought  of  by  any  good  Christian,  without  the  utmost 
indignation ;  for  the  worst  of  tyranny  is  theirs,  who 
take  a  pride  in  saying  to  men's  souls,  Bow  down,  that 
ve  may  go  aver  ; '  insulting  over  conscience,  and  pre- 
tending to  command  that :  and  though  the  utmost 
point  they  can  gain  by  all  their  violence,  is  that,  as 
it  follows  there,  men  lay  their  body  as  the  ground,  and 
u  the  streets  to  them  that  go  over,  by  external  com- 
pliances, while  the  soul  remains  unbended ;  yet  this 
being  a  most  grievous  affliction,  (as  it  is  there  spoken 

of,)  the  freeing  of  the  oppressed  from  this  force  will 


t  Pa.  cxxxvH.  3.  8. 


f  Isa.  1i.  S3. 


be  a  most  glorious  deliverance.  We  long  to  hear  of 
the  breaking  off  the  yoke  from  off  their  necks,  that 
they  may  no  longer  be  compelled  to  give  that  honour 
to  the  creature  that  is  the  Creator's  due,  against 
the  conviction  of  their  consciences;  but  may  be 
brought  up  out  of  that  Egypt,  to  sacrifice  unto  the 
Lord  vrith  freedom,  though  it  were  in  a  wilderness. 
For,  Is  Israel  a  servant  ?  Is  conscience  a  home-bom 
slave,  that  it  is  thus  spoiled,*  thus  imposed  upon  ? 
No;  it  is  God's  Son,  it  is  his  first-born,  and  he 
will  maintain  its  privileges.  Lord,  bring  their  souls 
out  ofprisoti,  that  they  tfusy  praise  thy  name.^ 

(2.)  Oppressed  confessors,  we  also  long  to  hear  of 
the  release  of.  Humanity  obliges  us  much,  and 
Christianity  much  more,  to  pity  the  distressed  state 
of  those  who  are  in  bonds  and  banishment,  in  dun- 
geons and  in  galleys,  for  the  word  of  God,  and  for 
the  testimony  of  Jesus  Christ.  When  will  the  time 
come  that  the  house  of  the  prisoners  shall  be  opened, 
and  every  man's  chains  fall  from  his  hands,  that 
a  spirit  of  life  from  God  shall  enter  into  the  dry 
bones,  that  they  may  live  ?  The  account  we  had  some 
years  ago  of  the  brave  and  daring  struggles  of  the 
Sevennois,  was  such  a  noise  and  a  shaking,  as  we 
thought  portended  the  return  of  bone  to  his  bone,  and 
a  glorious  resurrection  of  God's  witnesses ;  but  that 
affair,  for  aught  we  hear,  is  now  asleep :  God  him- 
self revive  that  work  in  the  midst  of  the  years,  and 
so  hasten  the  year  of  the  redeemed ! 

3.  The  year  of  the  revival  of  primitive  Christianity 
in  the  power  of  it,  will  be  the  year  of  the  redeemed. 
This  we  wish,  we  hope,  we  long  to  see,  both  at  home 
and  abroad ;  not  the  establishment  and  advancement 
of  any  party,  but  the  extinguishing  and  swallowing 
up  of  all  parties  in  the  prevalence  of  pure  religion^ 
and  undefiled,  and  the  dominion  of  serious  godliness 
in  the  hearts  and  lives  of  all  who  are  called  by  the 
Christian  name. 

When  the  bounds  of  the  church  will  be  enlarged  by 
the  conversion  of  Pagan  and  Mahometan  nations  to 
the  faith  of  Christ,  and  the  spreading  of  the  gospel 
in  foreign  parts ;  when  the  enlargement  of  trade  and 
commerce  shall  be  made  serviceable  to  the  interests 
of  Christianity,  as  it  is  to  our  secular  interests,  and 
the  kingdoms  of  this  world  shall  become  the  king- 
doms of  the  Lord  and  of  his  Christ,  and  the  Re- 
deemer's throne  shall  be  set  up  where  Satan's  seat  is, 
then  will  the  year  of  the  redeemed  come. 

When  what  is  amiss  in  the  churches  of  Christ 
shall  be  amended,  mistakes  rectified,  corruptions 
purged  out,  and  every  plant  that  is  not  of  our 
heavenly  Father's  planting,  shall  be  rooted  up,  and 
the  plants  that  are,  shall  be  fruitful  and  flourishing ; 
when  the  Lord  of  the  temple  shall  sit  as  a  refiner, 
and  shall  purify  the  sons  of  Levi,  and  all  the  seed 
of  Israel,  then  shall  the  year  of  the  redeemed  come.* 


%  Jer.  W.  14. 


ii  Ps.  cxlii.  7. 


i  Mai.  lii.  3. 


762 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


When  the  word  of  the  Lord  shall  have  a  free 
coarse;  when  vice  and  profaneness  shall  be  sup- 
pressed, and  all  iniquity  shall  stop  her  mouth  ;^ 
when  virtue  and  piety  shall  be  not  only  generally 
praised,  but  g^enerally  practised ;  when  in  every 
place  the  spiritual  incense  shall  be  offered,  and  a 
pure  offering  with  pure  hands,  and  the  principles 
of  our  holy  religion  shall  be  copied  out  into  men's 
hearts  and  lives,  then  shall  the  year  of  the  redeemed 
come. 

When  the  divisions  of  the  church  shall  be  healed, 
and  the  unity  of  the  Spirit  kept  entirely  in  the 
bond  of  peace,  so  that  Epbraim  shall  no  longer  envy 
Judah,  nor  Judah  vex  Ephraim;  when  all  shall 
agree  to  love  one  another,  though  they  cannot  agree 
in  every  thing  to  think  with  one  another ;  when  the 
Lord  shall  be  one,  and  his  name  one,  and  all  who 
profess  his  name  one  in  Christ,  the  great  centre  of 
unity,  then  shall  the  year  of  the  redeemed  come. 

In  a  word,  when  the  Spirit  shall  be  poured  out 
upon  us  from  on  high,>  so  that  knowledge  shall 
triumph  over  ignorance,  truth  over  error,  devotion 
over  profaneness,  virtue  over  all  immoralities,  justice 
and  truth  over  treachery  and  all  unrighteousness, 
and  Christian  love  and  charity  over  schism,  bigotry, 
and  all  uncharitableness ;  then  shall  the  year  of  the 
redeemed  come.  But  alas !  Who  thall  live  when  God 
doeth  thitf    The  Lord  hasten  it  in  its  season. 

II.  What  ground  we  have  to  believe  that  the  year 
of  the  redeemed,  even  the  year  of  recompences  for 
the  controversy  of  Sion,  will  come  some  time, 
whether  we  live  to  see  it  or  no. 

That  which  I  build  upon  is, 

1.  The  justice  and  righteousness  of  that  God  who 
governs  the  world,  and  whose  kingdom  ruleth  over 
all.  If  men  are  unrighteous,  they  shall  find  to  their 
cost  that  God  is  not.  If  men  make  nothing  of  their 
word,  God  makes  something  of  his ;  and  the  un- 
belief of  men  shall  not  make  it  void  and  of  none 
effect.  Though  clouds  and  darkness  are  round  about 
him,""  so  that  we  know  not  the  way  that  he  takes, 
verily  he  is  a  God  who  hideth  himself;  yet  judg- 
ment and  justice  are  the  habitation  of  his  throne; 
and  so  will  it  appear  when  the  mystery  of  God  shall 
be  finished,  and  the  heavens  shall  declare  his  right- 
eousness, and  neither  earth  nor  hell  shall  have  any 
thing  to  object  against  it  Sooner  or  later  the  Lord 
will  be  known  by  the  judgment  which  he  executes. 

Look  up,  (my  brethren,)  look  up  with  an  eye  of  faith 
to  heaven  above,  and  see  the  Lord  God  Omnipotent 
upon  a  throne,  high  and  lifted  up ;®  the  throne  of 
glory,  the  throne  of  government,  which  he  has  pre- 
pared in  the  heavens,?  and  established  there,  though 
the  heathen  rage,  and  the  floods  lift  up  their  waves  :<i 
and  hence  let  us  take  encouragement  to  hope,  that 
in  due  time  we  shall  see  an  effectual  check  given  to 


k  Ps.  cvi.  42. 
a  P».  1.  6. 


I  laa.  zxxii.  15. 
o  Im.  vi.  I. 


m  Pi.  xcvii.  2. 
P  Pi.  ciil.  19. 


the  '*  boundless  ambition  of  France,"  as  the  procla- 
mations often  call  it  The  universal  Monarch  will 
not  suffer  himself  to  be  rivalled  and  insulted  bj  a 
bold  pretender  to  an  universal  monarchy ;  nor  will 
he,  who  alone  is  absolute,  have  the  flowers  of  his 
crown  plucked  by  a  pretender  to  absolute  sove- 
reignty. The  humbling  and  abasing  of  such  proud 
men,  treading  them  down,  and  hiding  them  in  the 
dust  together,  by  which  the  great  Jehovah  proves 
himself  to  be  God  ;  and  in  which  he  glories,  above 
any  thing,  in  his  discourse  with  Job,  out  of  the 
whirlwind  :  Do  thou  do  to  (says  he)  and  then  will  1 
alio  confess  unto  thee,'  And  will  he  not  do  it  io  oar 
day? 

Look  abroad,  (my  brethren,)  look  abroad  with 
pleasure  upon  this  earth,  and  see  it,  as  wild  as  it  is, 
and  as  bad  as  it  is,  under  the  government  of  a  right- 
eous God,  whose  eyes  run  to  and  fro  through  it,  and 
who  does  according  to  his  will,  not  only  in  the  armies 
of  heaven,  who  are  not  too  high  to  be  above  his  con- 
trol ;  but  among  the  inhabitants  of  the  earth,  who 
are  not  too  mean  to  be  below  his  cognizance.  Thej 
are  mistaken  who  think  God  has  forsaken  the  earth,* 
and  that  he  cannot  judge  through  the  dark  cloud  ;  * 
who  say  in  their  hearts,  God  hath  forgotten,  and,  T^ou 
wilt  not  require  it.  The  day  is  coming  when  it  shall 
be  so  evident,  that  every  man  will  own  it :  verily 
there  is  a  reward  for  the  righteous ;  verily  there  is  a 
God  that  judgeth  in  the  earth,"* 

Suppose  we  could  not  read  the  doom  of  the  pa- 
pacy, and  the  French  tyranny,  out  of  the  depths  of 
the  Apocalypse,  we  may  read  it  out  of  the  Proverbs 
of  Solomon,  the  plainest  book  in  all  the  Bible ;  for 
there  we  are  told,  men's  pride  will  bring  them  low  ; 
wealth  gotten  by  vanity  will  he  diminished ;  he  that 
seeheth  mischief  it  shall  come  upon  him  ;  and  whoso 
doth  violence  to  innocent  blood,  shall  flee  to  the  pit,  and 
no  man  shall  stay  him.  And  no  word  of  God  shall 
fall  to  the  ground. 

The  tender  concern  God  has  for  his  church  and 
people.  His  redeemed  are  very  dear  to  him,  and 
he  is  jealous  for  them,  as  his  portion,  and  peculiar 
treasure ;  he  takes  pleasure  in  their  prosperity,  and 
in  all  their  afilictions  he  is  afflicted ;  and  he  takes 
what  is  done  against  them  as  done  against  himself: 
and  shall  not  he  avenge  his  own  elect,  because  they 
are  his  own  ?  He  who  purchased  the  soul  of  his  turtle 
dove  with  the  blood  of  his  Son,  will  not  deliver  it 
into  the  hand  of  the  multitude  of  its  adversaries  J* 

Especially,  considering  how  much  his  own  honour 
is  interested  in  the  concerns  of  his  church  and  peo- 
ple. If  they  be  abandoned  and  cast  out  of  his  care 
what  will  the  Egyptians  say ;  it  will  for  ever  dis- 
grace the  throne  of  his  glory,  and  be  the  reproach  of 
his  government ;  so  that  how  mean  soever  they  are, 
and  unworthy  he  should  do  any  thing  for  them ;  yet, 

q  Ps.  xcili.  2,  a.  r  Job  xl.  12-14.  ■  Ezek.  ix.  9. 

t  Job  xxil.  13.       u  p&  Iviii.  II.       ▼  Pa.  Uxiv.  19. 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


753 


DO  doabty  he  will  work  for  his  own  name,  his  own 
great  name,  that  that  may  not  be  polluted  among 
tbe  heathen. 

The  many  exceeding  great  and  precious  promises 
which  he  has  made  in  his  word  concerning  his 
cborcb,  and  on  which  he  has  caused  us  to  hope :  on 
these  our  faith  mast  build,  and  we  shall  find  them  a 
firm  and  never  failing  foundation.  God  has  spoken 
in  his  holiness,^  and  we  will  rejoice  in  what  he  has 
promised,  it  is  all  our  own.  He  has  promised,  that 
he  Kill jud^e  far  kit  people,  and  repent  himself  concern" 
ing  hit  servants^  when  he  Meet  that  their  strength  is 
gone.'  That  far  the  oppression  of  the  poor,  and  the 
sighing  of  the  needy,  he  will  arise  and  set  them  in  safety,^ 
That  the  Redeemer  shall  come  to  Sion,  and  turn  away 
wigodliness  from  Jacob.*  That  there  shall  be  no 
more  any  priching  brier  or  grieving  thorn,  nor  any  to 
hurt  or  destroy  in  all  the  holy  mountain.* 

It  was  shown  in  vision  to  the  prophet  Daniel  what 
^reat  havoc  would  be  made,  by  persecuting  powers 
of  the  church  in  the  latter  times  of  it ;  but  at  the 
same  time,  the  deliverance  of  the  church  and  the 
destruction  of  its  enemies  is  foretold.  Antiochus 
shall  be  mighty,  and  shall  wonderfully  destroy  the  peo- 
pUof  the  Holy  One  :  and  through  his  policy  he  shall 
cauts  craft  to  prosper  in  his  hand,  and  he  shaU  magnify 
himself  in  his  heart ;  and  by  peace  (more  than  by  war) 
he  shall  destroy  many,  (who  can  avoid  thinking  of 
the  French  king  at  the  reading  of  this  ?)  but  he  shall 
U  broken  without  hand  ;**  or,  as  it  is  in  a  parallel 
place,  he  shall  eonu  to  his  end,  and  none  shall  help 
him,^  And  of  another  great  enemy,  arising  out  of 
the  fourth  kingdom,  which  seems  to  be  the  papacy, 
it  b  said,  that  he  shall  wear  out  tfte  saints  of  the  Most 
High,  and  think  to  change  times  and  laws  by  an  un- 
limited power ;  and  they  shall  be  given  into  his  hand, 
hj  the  divine  permission,  for  wise  and  holy  ends, 
«a/i7  a  time,  times,  and  the  dividing  of  time.^  But 
what  will  come  of  him  at  last  ?  Shall  he  reign  thus 
for  ever,  because  he  clotheth  himself  with  cedar  ?* 
No,  the  judgment  shall  sit,  and  they  shall  take  away 
his  dominion,  to  consume  and  to  destroy  it  unto  the  end. 
The  God  of  troth  has  said  it,  and  shall  stand  firm. 
Be  that  leadeth  into  captivity,  shall  go  into  captivity  ; 
and  he  that  hiUeth  with  the  sword,  shall  he  hilled  by 
the  sword,  when  his  day  shall  come  to  fall :  and  in  the 
mean  time,  here  is  the  patience  and  the  faith  of  the 
saints/ 

2.  The  performance  of  these  promises  to  the  church 
in  all  ages:  God  has  often  delivered,  always  de* 
livered  at  last,  and,  therefore,  we  trust  he  does  and 
viil  deliver.  After  Israel's  long  affliction  in  Egypt, 
^at  house  of  note  bondage,  at  length  God  came 
down  to  deliver  them,  and  gave  an  emblem  of  their 
condition  in  a  bash  that  burned,  and  yet  was  not 
consumed.    In  the  times  of  the  judges,  first  one 


I  Rom.  si.  26. 


«  Deut.  sxxii.  90,  y  pa.  xii.  &. 

•  Is:i  x1  ft  b  Dan.  viii.  94.  S&. 

3c 


enemy,  and  then  another,  mightily  oppressed  them, 
for  so  many  years ;  but  in  due  time  God  raised  them 
up  a  deliverer,  and  sent  from  heaven  to  save  them. 
The  captivity  in  Babylon  came  to  an  end  at  the  set 
time.  The  treading  under  foot  of  the  sanctuary,  by 
Antiochus,  was  limited  to  a  certain  number  of  days, 
and  then  the  sanctuary  was  cleaned.*  Thus  the 
Jewish  nation,  as  long  as  it  continued  the  church  of 
God,  though  often  distressed,  was  still  delivered,  till 
by  rejecting  Christ  and  his  Gospel,  they  threw  them- 
selves out  of  the  church  ;  and  now  they  wait  in  vain 
for  redemption  from  their  present  dispersion,  and 
cannot  expect  it  till  they  shall  look  unto  him  whom 
they  pierced. 

The  Christian  church  has  been  often  afflicted  from 
its  youth  up,  groaned  long  under  tbe  yoke  of  the 
pagan  powers  ;  but  in  Constantine's  time  the  year 
of  the  redeemed  came,  when  the  great  red  dragon 
was  cast  out,  and  his  angels  who  adored  him  were 
cast  out  with  htm ;  when  idolatry  was  abolished, 
and  persecution  came  to  an  end,  and  that  voice  was 
heard  in  heaven.  Now  is  come  salvation,  and  strength, 
the  kingdom  of  our  God,  and  the  power  of  his  Christ.^ 
— ^Many  have  been  the  troubles  of  the  followers  of 
Christ ;  but  the  Lord  has  delivered  them  out  of  them 
all.  Now,  God  is  the  same  yesterday,  to-day,  and 
for  ever ;  he  is  God,  and  changes  not ;  his  arm  is  not 
shortened,  his  ear  is  not  heavy,  his  love  is  not  spent, 
nor  are  his  counsels  changed :  and,  therefore,  we 
are  sure,  the  year  of  the  redeemed  will  come  in  due 
time,  and  though  it  tarry  we  will  wait  for  it ;  for  the 
vision  is  for  an  appointed  time,  and  at  the  end  it  shall 
speahf  and  shall  not  lie. 

III.  What  encouragement  we  have  to  hope  that 
the  year  of  the  redeemed  will  come  shortly ;  that  the 
rescue  of  the  oppressed  and  the  ruin  of  the  oppress- 
or is  not  far  off ;  that  the  progress  and  advancement 
of  the  protestant  religion  in  Europe,  with  the  reviving 
and  flourishing  of  serious  piety  in  all  the  churches 
of  Christ,  are  blessings  at  the  door. 

As  to  this,  let  me  premise,  that  we  ought  to  be 
very  sober  and  modest  in  our  conjectures  concern- 
ing the  time  of  the  accomplishment  of  Scripture  pro<> 
phecies.  Buxtorf,  I  remember,  somewhere  quotes 
a  saying  of  the  Jewish  rabbins,  Rumpatur  spiritus 
eorum  qui  supputant  temporar^Calculating  the  times 
breaks  the  spirit.  They  have  so  long  and  so  often 
looked  for  the  coming  of  the  Messiah,  and  been  dis- 
appointed, that  they  curse  him  who  fixes  the  time  of 
his  coming.  We  despair  not  of  the  things  them- 
selves that  God  has  promised ;  but  we  presume  not 
to  limit  tbe  Holy  One  of  Israel,  or  to  set  him  his 
time  ;  we  wrong  the  promise  by  doing  so,  and  are 
tempted  to  think,  when  Providence  breaks  our  mea- 
sures, it  is  the  breaking  of  God's  word, — and  nothing 
tends  more  to  the  breaking  of  our  spirits :  whereas 


e  Dan.  xi.  49. 
f  Rev.  xili.  10. 


d  Dan.  vli.  25. 16. 
ff  Dan.  viii.  14. 


e  Jer.  xzii.  Mi 
h  Rev.  xtl  9. 10. 


764 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


he  that  helieveth  doth  not  mahe  haste.  Many  who 
have  been  peremptory  in  foretelling  the  time  when 
the  year  of  the  redeemed  would  come,  have  had  the 
mortification  of  living  to  see  themselves  mistaken. 

If  we  look  into  ourselves,  we  shall  find  a  great 
deal  to  discourage  us,  and  make  us  fear  that  this 
glorious  year  is  yet  a  great  way  off;  so  conscious  are 
we  to  ourselves  of  a  frame  and  disposition  of  soul 
that  renders  us  utterly  unmeet  to  share  in  the  joys 
of  such  a  day.  Our  faith  is  weak  ;  our  spirits  are 
narrow ;  our  prayers  are  cold  and  customary ;  our 
conversation  loose  and  careless;  and  the  things 
which  remain  among  us  are  ready  to  die.  Iniquity 
abounds,  and  the  love  of  many  is  waxen  cold.  Our 
own  private  interests,  it  is  to  be  feared,  lie  nearer 
our  hearts  than  the  great  and  general  interests  of 
the  kingdom  of  God  among  men.  Our  divisions  are 
very  threatening,  especially  the  mismanagement  of 
them:  these  are  ill  omens,  and  occasion  many  a 
melancholy  thought  to  those  who  seek  the  good  of 
the  gospel  Jerusalem.  We  now  think  ourselves 
within  sight  of  Canaan:  but  how  justly  might  God 
for  our  unbelief  and  murmuring  hurry  us  back  into 
the  wilderness  again,  and  swear  in  his  wrath  that 
we  should  never  enter  into  his  rest  ?  We  should  have 
the  more  reason  to  fear  these  fatal  consequences  of 
our  present  distempers,  but  that  it  is  intimated  to  us, 
that  the  Son  of  man  will  come  at  a  time  when  he 
shall  find  little  faith  on  the  earth,*  that  the  divine 
fidelity  be  the  more  magnified. 

But  for  all  this,  we  are  not  altogether  without 
hope,  that  the  year  of  the  redeemed  may  come 
shortly :  who  knows  but  that  this  year,  which  we  are 
now  brought  to  the  beginning  of,  may  in  some 
instances  go  far  toward  it?  Though  if  it  should  set 
us  back,  and  prove  a  year  of  disappointment,  we 
must  own  that  God  is  righteous ;  yet  if  it  should  set 
us  forward,  and  make  large  advances  towards  it,  we 
shall  have  this  to  add  to  the  comfort  of  it,  tliat  it 
will  be  the  answer  of  our  prayers,  and  the  crown  of 
our  hopes  in  God  at  the  beginning  of  the  year. 

I  dare  not  build  much  upon  the  opinion  of  Mr. 
Joseph  Mede,  and  other  learned  men,  (though  I  have 
a  great  value  for  their  judgment,)  who  compute  the 
period  of  12G0  days,  that  is,  years,  so  often  spoken 
of  in  the  Revelation,  which  should  end  in  the  resur- 
rection of  the  witnesses,  and  the  downfall  of  Baby- 
lon, to  fall  not  many  years  hence.    However  that  be, 

1.  It  is  plain  that  the  measure  of  the  iniquity  of 
the  church's  enemies  fills  apace :  the  powers  we  ar6 
contesting  with,  after  all  the  mortifications  they 
have  been  under,  as  if  they  had  bid  defiance  to 
repentance,  seem  to  g^w  more  and  more  false  and 
treacherous,  cruel  and  barbarous ;  which  cannot  but 
ripen  their  vintage  apace  for  the  great  wine-press  of 
the  wrath  of  God.^  That  which  hastened  the  descent 

i  Luke  Tcviii.  8.  k  Rev.  xlv.  19.  i  Isa.  xW.  17. 

■u  Dan.  iv.  V7.  »  tsa.  xzxiii.  I. 


of  the  king  of  Babylon  down  to  the  sides  of  the 
pit,  was,  not  only  that  he  had  made  the  earth  to 
tremble,  and  shaken  kingdoms ;  that  he  had  made 
the  world  as  a  wilderness,  and  destroyed  the  cities 
thereof;  but,  which  was  worst  of  all,  he  opened  not 
the  house  of  his  prisoners,*  that  is,  God's  Israel, 
whom  he  detained  in  captivity,  those  poor  to  whom 
Daniel  counselled  him  to  show  mercy,  that  it  might 
have  been  a  lengthening  of  his  tranquillity." 

Well,  when  he  who  spoileth  though  he  was  noi 
spoiled,  and  dealt  treacherously  with  those  who  d^alt 
fairly  with  him,  shall  cease  to  spoil,  and  shall  fnake 
an  end  to  deal  treacherously  ;*  not  in  a  way  of  re- 
formation, that  we  have  more  reason  to  pray  for 
than  hope  for,  but  so  as  that  his  measure  shall  he 
full ;  then  expect  that  he  shall  be  spoiled,  and  men 
shall  deal  treacherously  vrith  him,  that  is,  shall  show 
him  that  he  has  wretchedly  deceived  himself.  Bahy- 
lon's  doom  is,  Reward  her  as  she  rewarded  you.* 

2.  The  present  posture  of  affairs  gives  us  a  very 
hopeful  prospect  The  pride  of  the  French  king 
has  been  much  humbled  of  late,  and  his  power 
broken ;  and  (which  is  very  encouraging)  the  great 
things  done  against  him,  have  been  done  chiefly  by 
protestant  armies,  which,  we  hope,  will  animate 
protestant  princes  and  states  to  unite  for  the  support 
of  the  reformation,  that  it  may  recover  the  ground 
which  in  many  places  it  has  lost,  and  may  (^in 
more ;  for  many,  we  hope,  will  join  themselves  to 
us,  when  they  see  that  God  favours  our  righteous 
cause,  and  that  he  is  with  us  of  a  truth. 

For  our  future  safety,  Manoah's  wife  shall  be  my 
prophetess :  If  the  Lord  had  been  pleased  f  kill  us, 
he  would  not  thus  have  accepted  and  answered  our 
prayers,  nor  would  he,  as  at  this  time,  ha»e  showed  ns 
such  things  as  these.^ 

And  for  our  further  success  and  victory,  even 
Haman's  wife  shall  be  my  prophetess :  If  Mordecai 
he  of  the  seed  of  the  Jews,  before  whom  thou  hast 
begun  to  fall,  there  is  no  remedy ;  the  seed  of  the 
Jews  will  without  fail  be  victorious,  whenever  the 
scale  turns  in  their  favour;  thou  shalt  noi  prevail 
against  him,  but  shalt  surely  fall  before  Aim.^  As  for 
God,  his  work  is  perfect ;  when  he  begins  he  will 
make  an  end.  What  we  have  received  from  God 
imboldens  us  to  expect  more ;  when  God  brake  the 
heads  of  Leviathan'  in  pieces,  he  gave  him  to  he  tneat 
to  the  faith  and  hope  of  his  people  inhabiting  ike 
wilderness,  and  so  encouraged  them  to  expect,  that 
they  should  inhabit  Canaan  shortly.  God  is  plainly 
selling  Sisera  into  the  hand  of  a  woman. 

IV.  Nothing  remains  now,  but  to  tell  you  in  a 
word  or  two,  what  is  our  duty  in  reference  here- 
unto. Have  we  all  this  reason  to  think  that  the 
year  of  the  redeemed  will  come,  that  surely  it  will 
come  quickly  ? 


e  Rev.  xTiii.  6. 
1  Esth.  v1. 13. 


P  Judg.  xlli.  S3. 

r  Ps.  Ixxiv.  14. 


ENGLAND'S  HOPES. 


756 


I.  Then  let  os  be  very  earnest  with  God  in  prayer, 
to  hasten  this  glorious  year.  When  Daniel  under- 
stood by  books  that  the  seventy  years  of  Jenisalem's 
desolations  were  just  expirinj^,  then  he  set  his  face 
vilh  more  than  ordinary  ferroar  and  fixedness  to 
seek  the  Lord  God  by  prayer  and  supplication,  with 
fasting.*  When  we  see  mercies  coming  toward  as, 
let  as  go  forth  to  meet  them,  with  so  much  the  more 
cheerfolness,  by  oar  prayers.  Men  ought  always  to 
^ay,  and  not  to  faint  ;^  but,  especially,  at  such  a 
time,  that  when  God's  beloved  is  delivered^  and-  he 
saves  witk  his  right  hand,  we  each  of  us  may  have  the 
pleasure  of  saying,  with  the  Psalmist,  God  has  there- 
in answered  me,^ 

Let  our  closets  and  families  witness  for  us,  that 
we  pray,  that  we  pray  daily,  that  we  pray  earnestly, 
for  the  peace  of  Jerusalem,  as  those  who  prefer  it 
before  our  chief  joy.  Pray  for  the  uniting  of  pro- 
testants  at  home,  and  for  protestant  princes  and 
states  abroad ;  pray  for  the  prosperity  of  our  armies 
and  navies,  and  those  of  our  allies ;  pray  for  the 
pouring  out  of  the  Spirit  upon  us  from  on  high,  and 
then  the  year  of  the  redeemed  would  soon  come. 

2.  Let  us  prepare  ourselves  for  the  comfort  of 
those  great  things,  which  we  hope  God  will  do  for 
his  church  in  our  days,  by  bringing  every  thought 
within  us  into  obedience  to  those  two  royal  laws  of 
holiness  and  lore.  When  we  expect  God  to  do 
wonders  amonf^  us,  it  concerns  us  to  sanctify  our- 
selves.* I«et  las  carry  on  the  holy  war  in  our  own 
bosoms  against  sin  and  Satan,  the  world  and  the 
flesh,  with  vigour,  and  pursuant  to  our  baptismal 
TOW,  fight  mamfaily  under  the  banner  of  the  Lord 
Jesas ;  then  naay  we  hope  that  our  prayers  for  the 
prosperity  of  the  war  our  nation  is  engaged  in,  will 
be  acceptable,  and  prevalent  in  heaven.  But  what 
joy  can  we  hawe  of  our  triumphs  over  the  French,  if 
we  suffer  our  own  lusts  to  triumph  over  us  ?  If  in- 
deed we  desire  the  progress  of  the  reformation  in 
the  churches  of  Christ,  let  us  show  it  by  carrying  on 


•  DaiLULS. 


t  LukexviU.  l. 


•  Ps.  eviii.  6. 


the  reformation  of  our  own  hearts  and  lives  and 
families.  Remember  that  law  of  Moses,  When  the  host 
goeth  forth  against  the  enemy,  then  heep  thyself  from 
every  wiched  thing,  lest  you  undo  by  your  sins  what 
they  do  by  their  swords. 

3.  Let  us  with  patience  wait  for  the  year  of  the  re* 
deemed.  If  the  days  of  our  brethren's  affliction 
should  yet  be  prolonged,  and  their  deliverance  be 
deferred,  yet  let  us  not  be  weary,  nor  faint  in  our 
minds.  Though  the  year  of  the  redeemed  come  not 
in  our  time,  the  time  we  looked  for  it,  yet  believe,  it 
will  come  in  the  best  time,  the  time  that  infinite  wis- 
dom has  appointed ;  and  when  it  does  come,  it  will 
abundantly  reoompense  us  for  all  our  waiting.  The 
longest  voyages  make  the  richest  returns ;  and  the 
church's  triumphs  are  the  most  welcome,  when  they 
are  the  crown  of  great  and  long  expectations :  So, 
this  is  our  God,  we  have  waited  for  himJ*  Let  us  not 
upon  every  disappointment,  arraign  either  the  provi- 
dence of  God,  or  the  conduct  of  those  in  public  trusts. 
Leave  it  to  God  to  govern  the  world,  and  to  the  queen 
and  her  councils  under  him,  to  govern  the  realm ; 
and  let  us  in  our  obscurity  be  easy  and  satisfied,  and 
believe  that  all  will  end  well  at  last 

But  if  the  year  of  the  redeemed  should  not  come 
in  our  days ;  if  the  carcasses  of  this  generation  should 
fall  in  this  wilderness,  as  justly  they  may  for  our 
unbelief  and  murmuring,  and  we  should  not  go  over 
Jordan  to  see  that  goodly  mountain,  and  Lebanon : 
yet  let  it  suffice  us,  that  those  who  shall  come  after 
us  shall  enter  into  that  rest.  Joseph  dies  in  Egypt, 
but  lays  his  bones  in  confidence  that  God  will  surel}' 
visit  Israel.  Let  us  give  all  diligence  to  make  sure 
our  eternal  redemption,  and  then  we  shall  be  happy, 
though  we  live  not  to  see  the  glories  of  the  year  of  the 
redeemed  on  earth;  and  may  depart  in  the  pro* 
phet  Daniel's  dismission.  Go  thou  thy  way  till  the 
end  be,  for  tliou  shalt  rest ;  and,  whatever  thy  lot  be 
on  earth,  thou  shalt  stand  in  thy  lot,  (and  it  shall 
be  a  blessed  lot,)  in  the  end  of  the  days." 


V  Josh.  iii.  4. 


w  lia.  zxT.  9. 


s  Dan.  xii.  IQi 


Zc2 


A  SERMON 


CONCERNING    THK 


WORK  AND  SUCCESS  OF  THE  MINISTRY ; 


Preached  at  the  Tuealay  Lecture,  at  Salters*  Hall,  June  25,  1710. 


Lure  x.  6,  6. 

And  into  whatsoever  house  ye  enter,  first  say,  Peace  be 
to  this  house.  And  if  the  Son  of  peace  be  there,  your 
peace  shall  rest  upon  it ;  if  not,  it  shall  return  to  you 
again. 

Prospect  of  success,  as  it  is  the  spring  of  action, 
so  it  is  the  spur  to  industry  and  resolution.  Issa- 
char,  that  tribe  of  husbandmen,  would  never  bow 
his  shoulder  to  bear,  and  couch,  as  he  does,  between 
two  burthens,  much  less  could  he  rejoice  in  his 
tents  of  labour,  but  that  he  sees  the  land  is  pleasant,^ 
and  from  it  he  hopes  to  reap  the  precious  fruits  of 
the  earth :  nor  would  Zebulun,  that  tribe  of  mer- 
chants,be  a  haven  of  ships,  and  rejoice  in  his  hazard- 
ous going  out,  but  that  he  expects  to  suck  of  the 
abundance  of  the  seas,  and  of  treasures  hid  in  the 
sand.^  Whatever  business  a  man  has,  he  cannot 
long  oblige  himself  to  abide  by  it,  unless  he  can 
promise  himself  to  get  by  it. 

N.ow  it  is  worth  while  to  inquire,  what  is  the  gain, 
and  what  the  success,  which  we,  who  are  ministers, 
have  in  prospect,  and  which  we  bear  up  ourselves  in 
our  work  with  the  prospect  of.  What  is  it  which  we 
may  feed  ourselves  with  the  hopes  of? 

1.  Worldly  advantages  we  must  not  promise  to 
ourselves,  in  common  with  the  children  of  this 
world :  for  the  soldiers  of  Jesus  Christ,  though  they 
walk  in  the  flesh,  do  not  war  after  the  flesh  ;^  they 
negociate  the  affairs  of  a  kingdom  that  is  not  of  this 
world. 

They  who  deal  in  secular  business,  think  they 
succeed  well  and  gain  their  point,  if  they  raise  an 
estate,  and  advance  their  families,  and  make  to 
themselves  a  name  among  the  great  ones  of  the  earth ; 
they  rejoice  because  their  wealth  is  great,  and  their 


•  Gen.  xlix.  H,  15. 
«  2  Cor.  X.  3. 


b  Deat.  xxxiii.  19. 
d  1  Cor.  ix.  H. 


hand  has  gotten  much,  and  say,  Soul,  take  thine  ease. 
But  the  ministry,  though  it  is  the  best  calling,  is  the 
worst  trade,  in  the  world ;  that  is,  it  will  prove  so  to 
those  who  make  a  mere  trade  of  it,  looking  no 
further  than  to  get  money  by  it,  and  to  enrich 
themselves. 

We  cannot  propose  to  ourselves  advantages  of  this 
kind,  for  the  same  Lord  who  ordained,  that  they  tcho 
preach  the  gospel  should  live  of  the  gospel^^  and  live 
comfortably,  has  also  told  them.  In  the  world  ye 
must  have  tribulation.^  Nay,  we  may  not  make 
these  things  our  end  in  undertaking  or  prosecuting 
this  work :  we  debase  our  calling  and  contradict 
our  profession  if  we  do.  Shall  we,  who  preach  the 
great  things  of  another  world  to  others,  so  far  forget 
ourselves  as  to  seek  great  things  to  ourselves  in  this 
world,  when  God  in  saying  to  Baruch  has  said  to 
all  his  servants  the  prophets.  Seek  them  not  ?^ 

2.  Spiritual  and  eternal  advantages  in  the  other 
world,  if  we  be  faithful,  we  may  hope  for,  and  en- 
courage ourselves  with  the  prospect  of,  in  common 
with  all  good  Christians.  If  we  be  sincere,  and  dili- 
gent in  our  work,  and  our  hearts  upright  with  God, 
we  shall  have  the  favour  of  God,  and  the  testimony 
of  our  consciences  for  us,  and  eternal  life  in  its 
earnests  and  first-fruits  abiding  in  us ;  and  it  is 
much  our  own  fault,  if  we  excel  not  in  graces  and 
comforts,  by  our  constant  converse  with  divine 
things.  And  if  through  grace  we  endure  to  the  end 
good  and  faithful  servants,  our  Master's  **  Well 
done,"  the  joy  of  our  Lord  into  which  we  shall  enter, 
and  the  crown  of  life  ^  which  we  shall  receive  when 
the  chief  Shepherd  shall  appear,**  will  be  an  abun- 
dant recompence  for  all  our  services  and  sufferings : 
and  we  shall  then  say,  we  have  had  good  success  in 
our  work. 

Let  us  therefore  fear,  lest  such  a  rest,  such  a  glory. 


e  John  xvi.  33. 
cr  Matt.  xxy.  21. 


f  Jcr.  xlv.  5. 
I  Pet.  V.  4. 


A  SERMON,  &c. 


767 


being  set  before  as,  any  of  us  should  seem  to  come 
short  of  it,*  and  lest  while  we  preach  to  others,  and 
show  them  the  way  to  heaven,  we  ourselves  should 
be  shut  outf  and  become  cast  away  at  last  ;^  and, 
being  moved  with  this  fear,  let  us  walk  very  circum- 
spectly, and  take  heed  to  ourselves,  that  we  may  not 
ODly  save  those  who  hear  us,  but  ourselves  in  the 
first  place.     Bat, 

3.  There  is  a  particular  good  success  besides  this, 
which  faithful  ministers  have  in  prospect,  which  they 
aim  at,  and  animate  themselves  with,  in  their  work, 
and  that  is,  doing  good  to  the  souls  of  men  ;  and,  as 
instruments  in  the  hand  of  God,  serving  the  interests 
of  Christ's  kingdom  in  the  world.  We  are  shep- 
herds, we  are  vine-dressers,  and  we  reckon  we  have 
l^ood  success,  if  the  flock  increase,  and  the  vineyard 
flourish,  and  be  fruitful,  to  the  honour  of  him  who  is 
the  great  Owner  of  both.  We  are  Christ's  soldiers, 
and  if  we  be  instrumental  to  curb  and  restrain  the 
enemies  of  his  kingdom,  and  to  reduce  and  protect 
the  subjects  of  it ;  if  by  the  blessing  of  God  on  our 
ministry  the  ignorant  be  instructed,  the  simple  made 
wise  for  their  souls  and  eternity,  and  the  wise  made 
to  increase  in  learning ;  if  the  bad  be  made  good, 
and  the  good  made  better  ;  then  do  we  prosper,  and 
then  have  we  good  success.  This  is  that  we  should 
faaTc  in  our  eye,  and  which  we  should  lay  near  our 
hearts,  with  seriousness  and  concern  to  the  last  de- 
l^ree.  That  is  that,  for  the  compassing  of  which  we 
should  study  and  use  the  most  apt  and  proper  means, 
and  should  willingly  spend  and  be  spent ;  it  is  that 
fmit  of  the  travail  of  our  soul,  which,  if  we  see  it, 
will  be  abundantly  to  our  satisfaction,*  and  the  pain 
will  be  forgotten  for  joy  of  it ;  but  if  we  see  it  not, 
the  case  is  more  sad  than  that  of  a  miscarrying  womb 
and  dry  breasts,"  and  because  of  it  we  go  on  in  hea- 
viness, nay,  in  bitterness  of  spirit." 

But  though  so  much  of  ^our  comfort  is  bound  up 
in  the  success  of  our  labour,  yet  we  lie  under  this 
disadvantage,  above  those  of  other  professions,  that 
we  are  at  g^eat  ancertainty  concerning  it,  and  for 
the  most  part  very  much  in  the  dark.  The  physician 
knows  whether  he  cures  his  patietat  or  no,  and  the 
lawyer  whether  be  carries  his  client's  cause  or  no : 
but  we  preach,  from  day  to  day,  to  work  upon  the 
hearts  of  men  ;  and  though  sometimes  the  eflect  is 
visible  either  one  way  or  the  other,  some  men's  sins 
<re  open  beforehaud^  and  the  good  works  of  some  are 
likewise  manifest  be/orehand,^  some  are  much  our 
joy  and  crown,  others  much  our  grief  and  shame ; — 
yet  more  often  it  is  not  so ;  we  cannot  tell  who  are 
savingly  wrought  upon,  and  who  are  not:  but  this 
makes  the  foundation  of  God  to  stand  sure.  The  Lord 
hmps  tkem  that  are  hisj^  whether  we  do  or  no.  And 
in  this  matter,  which  cannot  but  be  very  much  upon 
our  hearts,  this  text  will  give  us  both  direction  and 


H«t».  \y.  1. 

■  Hos.  ix.  14. 


k  1  Cor.  ix.  37.  I  Isa.  lili.  II. 

n  Ezck.  lit.  14. 


satisfaction :  for  it  shows  us  how  we  must  do  our 
duty,  and  then  leave  the  success  with  the  grace  of 
God, — as  in  the  affairs  of  this  life,  we  are  to  leave 
it  with  the  providence  of  God. 

The  text  is  part  of  the  instructions  which  our  Lord 
Jesus  g^ve  to  the  seventy  disciples,  when  he  gave 
them  their  commission  ;  for  those  two  will  go  toge- 
ther :  Christ  sends  none  on  his  errand,  whom  he  does 
not  give  in  some  measure  to  understand  their  mes- 
sage. These  instructions  here  are  much  the  same 
with  those  he  gave  to  the  twelve  apostles ;  and  what 
he  said  to  them  both  in  exhortation  and  encourage- 
ment, he  says  in  effect  to  all  his  ministers,  excepting 
some  few  things  that  were  peculiar  to  the  state  and 
work  of  those  first  preachers  of  the  gospel. 

My  text  will  give  us  not  only  a  fair  occasion,  but 
good  help  too,  to  consider  two  things  : 

I.  The  work  and  office  of  ministers ;  wherever 
they  come,  they  are  to  say.  Peace  he  here, 

II.  Their  success  in  the  discharge  of  this  office ; 
which  is  according  as  they  da  or  do  not  meet  with 
the  sons  of  peace.  And  the  opening  of  these  two 
things,  I  trust,  by  the  blessing  of  God,  may  be  of 
some  use  both  to  ministers  and  people. 

I.  We  may  observe  here,  what  the  charge  and 
work  of  gospel  ministers  is,  and  what  they  are  war- 
ranted and  instructed  to  do ;  they  are  appointed  by 
the  Prince  of  peace  to  be  the  messengers  of  peace, 
and  wherever  they  come,  they  are  to  say.  Peace  he 
here.  If  a  minister  be  asked,  as  Samuel  was,  Comes t 
thou  peaceahly,  he  may  answer  in  the  name  of  him 
who  sent  him.  Yes,  peaceahly  i^  and  such  their  tem- 
per and  behaviour  ought  to  be,  as  to  be  able  to  an- 
swer so  for  themselves.  They  are  heralds  indeed 
to  proclaim  war  against  sin ;  but  to  the  children  of 
men  they  are  sent  as  ambassadors  preaching  peace 
by  Jesus  Christ ;'  who  himself  first  came  (as  one 
pleased  he  had  such  an  errand  to  perform)  and 
preached  peace  to  them  that  were  afar  off,  and  to 
them  that  were  nigh  ;*  and  has  appointed  his  minis* 
ters  as  residents  to  negociate  this  great  affair,  while 
time  lasts,  for  so  long  the  treaty  will  continue. 

1.  The  ministers  whom  Christ  here  sends  forth  are 
supposed  to  enter  into  private  houses ;  and  that  un- 
der the  character  of  Christ's  ambassadors,  and  in 
the  execution  of  their  office, — ^the  business  of  which 
they  must  be  carrying  on,  not  tfniy  inte  whatsoever 
synagogue,  but  into  whatsoever  house,  thc]^  enter. 
We  shall  find  them  \n  private  houses,  either  because 
thither  their  public  preaching  will  be  driven,  or  be- 
cause thither  they  themselves  will  carry  it. 

(1.)  Sometimes  they  were  forced  into  such  comers^ 
Though  the  message  they  brought  had  every  thing 
in  it  to  recommend  them  to  an  universal  accept- 
ance, yet  it  is  probable,  in  many  places  they  were 
not  permitted  to  preach  in  the  synagogues ;  the  rulers 

o  1  IMm.  V.  24,  S5.  p  9  Tim.  11. 19.         4  I  Sam.  xvi.  a. 

r  Acts  X.  38.  ■  Eph.  ii.  17. 


r68 


A  SGRMON  CONCERNING  THfi 


there  who  had  a  Jealous  eye  upon  them  would  take 
care  to  keep  them  thence ;  and  they  then  retired 
Into  private  bouses,  and  preached  to  as  many  as 
would  come  to  hear  them  there.  Those  who  cannot 
do  what  they  would  for  Ood  and  the  souls  of  men, 
must  do  what  they  can,  and  God  will  accept  of 
them. 

The  g^ospel  of  Christ  is  never  the  less  honourable 
in  itself,  nor  should  be  ever  the  less  acceptable  to  us, 
for  any  disadvantageous  circumstances  of  this  kind, 
which  the  preaching  of  it  may  be  at  any  time  re- 
duced to.  It  is  not  the  place  but  the  heart  that 
God  looks  at.'  It  was  in  the  house  of  Cornelius 
that  the  Holy  Ghost  first  descended,  in  the  dew  of 
Peter's  preaching  upon  the  Gentiles.  The  master 
of  the  feast  sent  his  servants  into  the  highways  and 
the  hedges,  to  invite  guests  to  the  wedding  supper. 

And  those  who,  in  such  a  cloudy  and  dark  day, 
open  their  doors  to  God's  ministers  and  people,  out 
of  a  sincere  love  to  Christ  and  his  gospel,  whatever 
inconvenience  they  may  sustain,  shall  be  no  losers  by 
it  in  the  end  ;  sure  a  church  of  Christ  brought  into 
a  house  (and  we  often  in  the  New  Testament  meet 
with  a  "  church  in  the  house  *')  cannot  but  bring  as 
valuable  a  blessing  along  with  it,  though  perhaps 
not  so  sensible  a  one,  as  the  ark  of  God  brought  into 
the  house  of  Obed-edom."  Simon  Peter  was  soon 
repaid  with  a  great  draught  of  fishes,  for  lending 
Christ  his  boat  to  preach  a  sermon  out  of,*  and 
(which  was  a  better  reward)  was  made  a  fisher  of 
men. 

We  have  reason  to  be  thankful  to  God  that  we 
arc  not  reduced  to  Such  straits  as  our  suffering 
brethren  in  France  are  at  this  day  reduced  to  ;  but 
it  is  our  wisdom  to  prepare  for  changes,  and  to  re- 
solve, that  whithersoever  the  ark  removes,  we  will 
remove  and  go  after  it.* 

(2.)  They  always  embraced  such  opportunities  of 
spreading  the  gospel,  and  doing  good  to  the  souls 
of  men,  as  visiting  people  at  their  houses  gate  them. 
Our  Lord  Jesus  preached  wherever  he  visited.  Mary 
heard  his  word,  and  Martha  should  have  heard  it, 
in  their  own  house.^  St.  Paul,  at  £phesus,  taught 
not  only  publicly  in  the  synagogue,  and  the  school 
of  Tyrannus,  but  from  house  to  bouse  ;7  and  the 
apostles,  at  Jenisaletn,  not  only  in  the  temple,  but 
ffi  every  house  continued  to  teach  and  preach  Jesus 
Christ* 

Private  and  personal  application  Would  make  our 
public  work  the  more  successful;  and  some,  per- 
haps, will  ^ve  a  more  earnest  heed  to  that  which  is 
spoken  to  them,  by  themselves,  about  their  souls  and 
their  salvation,  than  to  that  which  they  only  hear 
in  common  with  others.  Peter  must  not  only  cast  a 
net,  but  sometimes  cast  a  hook,  into  the  sea,  with 
'^hich  the  fish  may  be  caught  that  had  escaped  the 

« AcUi.  24.       u  3  Sam.  vi.  12.      ▼  Luke  v.  3, 4.     w  Jnsh  iii.  3. 
A  Luke  X.  39.  7  Acts  XX. ».         *  Acts  v>  42/ 


net"  And  if  the  words  of  the  wise  be  as  iiiit7#,  this 
will  help  to  fasten  them,  as  naiU  in  a  sure  placed 
Hereby  we  may  come  to  know  what  people  have  to 
say  against  being  religious,  and  what  their  excuses 
are  with  which  they  support  themselves  in  a  sinful 
way ;  and  by  giving  suitable  answers  to  both,  may 
help  them  over  the  particular  difliculty  that  lies  id 
their  way. 

Thus,  we  may  express  more  condescension  and 
compassion  (two  excellent  principles  in  a  minister) 
than  We  can  in  our  public  administrationfl.  Thus, 
we  may  give  more  particular  reproofs  and  admo- 
nitions, counsels  and  comforts,  suited  to  the  case  of 
each  person  and  family ;  may,  with  that  which  is 
indeed  the  tongue  of  the  learned,  speak  a  word  in 
season  f  and  may  learn  the  better  how  to  direct  the 
arrow  in  public,  that  it  may  not  alwilys  come  from  a 
bow  druum  at  a  venture. 

But  if  the  priesfs  lips  should  keep  knowledge^  and 
have  it  ready  to  impart  upon  all  occasions,  the 
people  should  seek  the  law  at  his  mouth,^  and  desire 
instruction.  Ministers  would  gladly  give  you  the 
best  advice  they  can  about  your  spiritual  concerns, 
if  you  would  atk  it,  or  give  tkem  an  oppartunitg  Jtfr 
it ;  and,  when  they  come  to  your  houses,  or  you  are 
in  company  with  them,  would  ask,  (as  of  old  they 
used  to  do  of  the  prophet,)  Wkat  hatk  the  Lord  an- 
iwered  thee?  and,  What  hdth  the  Lord  spoken?* 
Watchman,  what  of  the  night  ?  They  who  would  have 
the  benefit  of  an  oracle  must  consult  it. 

2.  They  are  instructed  to  say.  Peace  he  to  this 
house;  that  is,  to  the  inhabitants  of  it ;  to  all  uniler 
this  roof;  to  the  master  of  the  family,  for  be  he  ever 
so  great  he  needs  this  blessing ;  and  to  all  the  mem-* 
hers  of  the  family,  for  be  they  ever  so  mean  they  are 
not  excluded  from  this  blessing.  In  Christ  Jesus 
there  is  neither  bond  nor  free.  Ig^atius's  bishop 
was  to  take  cognisance  even  of  the  servants  of  the 
families  that  belonged  to  his  charge* 

Peace  be  to  you,  was  a  common  form  of  salutation 
among  the  Jews ;  but  no  doubt  it  is  here  intended 
for  more  than  a  compliment,  or  a  piece  of  civility 
and  good  manners:  it  does  indeed  well  become 
Christ's  ministers  to  be  very  respectful  and  obliging 
to  all.  The  just  and  undissembled  expressions  of 
honour  and  tenderness  to  those  with  whom  they  con-* 
verse,  will  not  only  be  an  ornament  to  their  profes- 
sion, but  may  help  to  gain  them  an  interest  in  the 
affections  of  people,  improvable  to  the  best  purposes ; 
as  on  the  contrary,  their  ministry  may  be  prejudiced 
more  than  they  are  aware  of,  by  a  rude  and  morose 
behaviour.  But  these  words  here<  are  to  be  used  by 
them  in  the  same  sense,  and  with  the  same  solem- 
nity that  Christ  used  them  to  his  disciples,  after  his 
resurrection,  when  he  stood  in  the  midst,  and  said 
unto  them,  once  and  again,  Peace  be  unto  gou ;'  by 

•  Matt.  xvii.  27.  bEccl.xii.il.  o  Isa.  1.  4. 

d  Mftl.  ii.  7.  4  Jer.  zxiii.  37«  r  Johft  %%,  l»/3l. 


WORK  AND  SUCCESS  OF  THE  MINISTRY 


759 


which  he  lodged  this  peace  with  Diem,  as  a  sacred 
deposit,  to  be  commonicated  by  them,  as  his  agents, 
to  the  cbarch :  Peace  be  to  you,  and,  in  you,  to  all 
belieren.  Reoeiye  the  olive-branch  of  peace,  and 
carry  it  with  yon  to  all  nations ;  receive  from  him 
vho  has  authority  to  g:ive  it,  and  who  can  conunand 
peace  to  be  the  fruit  of  the  lips,  the  fruit  of  your 
lips.'  They  were  to  go  into  all  the  world,  with  these 
words  in  their  mouths.  Peace  he  unto  you.  They 
were  for  peace ;  but  when  they  spake,  the  world  was 
forward — with  them,  with  Christ  himself. 

Nov  the  gospel  they  preach  was  an  everlasting 
gospel,'  and  Jesus  Christ  is,  in  it,  the  same  to-^y 
that  he  was  yettertUy ;  ^  and,  therefore,  what  ikey 
were  to  say,  in  the  same  name,  we  are  to  say,  we  do 
say :  Peace  he  unte  you,  I  say,  (the  unworthiest  of 
all  who  are  employed  on  this  great  errand,)  Peace 
he  to  tkii  congregation ;  Peace  to  everyone  who  hears 
me  this  day.  For  my  brethren  and  companions*  eake^  I 
viU  now  say,  Peaea  be  unto  you.^    That  is, 

(1.)  We  are  to  preach  peace  to  all ;  to  publish 
and  proclaim  the  gospel  of  peace ;  to  notify  to  the 
children  of  men  the  covenant  of  peace ;  to  invite 
them  to  come  and  take  the  benefit  of  it,  and  for 
their  greater  satisfaction  to  administer  the  seals  of 
it  When  the  first-begotten  was  brought  into  the 
world,  the  angels  of  heaven,  in  token  of  their  com- 
manion  with  the  church  militant,  sang.  Glory  to 
God  in  the  highest ,  on  earth  peace  ;"*  and  when  he  was 
brought  into  Jerusalem,  the  disciples  on  earth,  in 
token  of  their  communion  with  the  church  trium- 
phant, sang.  Peace  in  heaven,  and  glory  in  the  high- 
fil,'— 40  that  both  ^the  upper  and  lower  world 
share  in,  and  give  thanks  for,  this  peace.  The  mi- 
nisten  of  the  gospel  bring  good  tidings,  for  they 
publish  peace.*  Wo  are  warranted  to  make  a  gene- 
ral offer  of  peace  to  all,  upon  easy  and  reasonable 
terms:  Peace,  that  is, 

[1.]  Reconciliation, — and  no  war.  The  case  is 
plain  that  sin  has  been  the  parent  of  disagreement 
between  God  and  man.  As  soon  as  ever  man  had 
eaten  the  forbidden  fruit,  his  God,  who  made  him, 
became  his  enemy  and  fought  against  him  ;p  in  token 
of  which,  a  cherubim  was  set,  with  a  flaming  sword 
that  turned  every  way,  threatening  death,  while  he 
l^ept  the  way  of  the  tree  of  life.^  The  quarrel  is 
hereditary;  we  are  by  nature  children  of  wrath,  be- 
caase  children  of  disobedience ;  the  broken  law  lays 
OS  under  the  curse,  and  sets  the  terrors  of  God  in 
array  against  as.  And  if  God  proceed  in  his  con- 
troTersy  with  as,  it  will  certainly  terminate  in  our 
endless  ruin ;  for  who  knows  the  power  of  his  anger  ? 
Bat  is  the  breach  wide  as  the  sea,  that  it  cannot 
be  healed?  Is  the  case  desperate?  Blessed  be 
Cod,  it  is  not ;  the  gospel  we  preach  shows  us  that 

f  la.  ItU.  19.      h  Pt.  cxx.  7.      1  Rev.  xlv.  6.      k  Heb.  xtlL  8. 

I  Ps  cxxil.  ft     Gal.  ri.  16.  m  Luke  ii.  14. 

>  Lake  six.  3p.  o  isa.  UL  7.  p  Ua.  ]xiU.  10. 


God'.s  thoughts  toward  us  are  thoughts  of  peace ;'' 
that  Christ  undertakes  to  be  our  peace  ;  *  and  thus 
the  counsels  of  peace  were  between  tJiem  both.*^  It 
discovers  to  us  how  satisfaction  was  made  for  the 
violation  of  the  first  covenant,  and  a  foundation  laid 
for  a  treaty  of  peace ;  how  the  enmity  was  slain  by 
the  cross  of  Christ,  and  a  happy  expedient  found  to 
bring  God  and  man  together  again  in  a  new  cove- 
nant. Behold,  we  bring  you  glad  tidings  of  great  joy, 
the  best  news  that  ever  came  from  heaven  to  earth, 
that  God  was  in  Christ,  reconciling  the  world  unto 
himself^  There  is  not  only  a  cessation  of  arms,  and 
a  truce  for  a  time,  but  methods  proposed  for  a  lasting, 
an  everlasting,  accommodation;  Infinite  Wisdom 
having  found  a  ransom. 

Now  when  we  say.  Peace  be  unto  you,  we  thereby 
proclaim  to  the  rebellious  children.  That  whoever 
will  may  come  and  take  the  benefit  of  this  act  of  in- 
demnity;  conditions  of  peace  are  offered  them,  which 
they  cannot  with  any  colour  of  reason  except  against ; 
God  is  willing  to  be  reconciled  to  yon  upon  gospel 
terms ;  and,  therefore,  we  as  ambassadors  for  Christ 
beseech  you  in  his  stead  to  be  reconciled  to  him.^ 
You  deceive  yourselves  into  your  own  ruin,  if  you 
say  you  shall  have  peace  though  you  go  on  still  in 
your  sins  ;*  but  we  court  you  to  your  own  happiness, 
when  we  tell  you  you  shall  have  peace,  if  you  re- 
turn, and  repent,  and  yield  yourselves  to  the  Lord. 
The  great  God,  by  his  prophet,  has  as.snred  us,  thnt 
he  is  not  implacable,  for  fury  is  not  in  him  ;  *  (right- 
eous he  is,  but  not  furious ;)  yet  witlial  that  he  is 
irresistible,  and  we  are  unable  to  stand  before  him, 
for  who  would  set  the  briars  and  thom»  against  him  in 
battle  f  which  will  be  so  far  from  giving  check  to  a 
consuming  fire,  that  they  will  bring  fuel  to  it ;  be 
will  yo  through  them,  yea,  he  will  bum  them  together. 
What  must  a  man  do  then  who  sees  himself  ready  to 
be  swallowed  up  by  the  divine  wrath?  The  God  of 
heaven  tells  him  what  he  must  do :  Let  him  take  hold 
on  my  strength^  (take  hold  by  a  lively  faith  on  Christ 
crucified,  who  is  the  power  of  God,  and  his  arm  re- 
vealed,) that  he  mahe  peace  with  me ;  let  him  submit, 
and  return  to  his  allegiance,  accommodate  himself 
to  his  God,  and  to  his  duty,  and  he  shall  mahe 
peace  with  me ;  he  shall  have  the  comfort  of  it,  and 
all  shall  be  well. 

[2.]  Riches, — and  no  want.  It  is  not  only  the  ex- 
tinction of  an  unhappy  controversy,  but  the  settling 
of  a  happy  correspondence ;  Peace  be  to  you,  is  as 
much  as  All  good  be  to  you.  When  the  Psalmist 
prayed  for  peace  within  Zion*s  walls,  he  explained 
himself  in  the  next  words,  prosperity  be  within  thy 
palaces ;'  and  meant  no  less,  when,  for  his  brethren 
and  companions'  sake,  he  said.  Peace  be  within  thee. 
So  when  we  say.  Peace  be  to  this  assembly,  we  make 

q  Gen.  iii.  34.     r  Jer.  xxix.  11.      «  Eph.  ii.  14.     t  Zech.  vi.  13. 

u  s  Cor.  V.  10.  V  2  Cor.  v.  30.  w  Deut  xxix.  10. 

x  IflL  xxvii.  4»  &  y  P>.  czxii.  7,  % 


760 


A  siRMON  CONCERNING  THE 


you  in  God's  name  a  fair  offer  of  life  and  all  happiness ; 
of  all  that  which  is  agreeable  to  the  nature  of  your 
souls,  as  you  are  rational  and  immortal  creatures, — 
and  to  their  necessity,  as  you  are  guilty  and  sinful ; 
of  tlie  benefit  of  all  those  exceeding  great  and  pre- 
cious promises,  which  will  make  a  portion  for  you, 
9,  portion  for  ever,  for  the  life  that  now  is,  and  that 
which  is  to  come. 

Peace  he  to  you,  that  is,  prosperity,  soul  prospe- 
rity, all  the  welfare  of  both  worlds,  the  unsearchable 
riches  of  Christ,^  and  all  that  substance  which  they 
who  love  wisdom  are  made  to  inherit  ;^  not  only  food 
that  you  may  live,  but  gold  tried  in  the  fire  that  you 
knay  be  rich.<=  AH  the  treasures  that  are  hid  in  the 
new  covenant,  in  that  abridgment  of  it,  God  will 
be  to  you  a  God ;  they  are  all  your  own,  if  you  please 
to  make  them  so  by  a  lively  faith.  This  spiritual 
wealth  and  riches  shall  be  in  thathouse  on  which  this 
peace  rests,  even  righteousness  that  endures  forever.*^ 

Peace  be  to  you,  that  is,  comfort  and  joy,  and  a 
holy  serenity  and  satisfaction  of  soul,  such  as  the 
smiles  of  the  world  cannot  give,  nor  its  frowns  take 
away ;  that  peace  which  is  the  effect  of  righteous- 
ness, even  quietness  and  assurance  for  ever ;«  ever- 
lasting consolation,  and  good  hope  through  grace. 
This  is  that  wine  and  milk,  that  nourishment  and 
refreshment  for  the  soul,  which  are  to  be  bought 
without  money  and  without  price  '/  that  water  of  life, 
of  which  we  may  take  freely,  abundantly,  and  free 
of  cost.>  This  day  is  salvation  come  to  this  house,^ 
so  our  Saviour  himself  explains  this  comprehensive 
word :  Peace  be  to  this  house,  all  the  things  that 

ACCOMPANY  salvation. 

We  arc  in  God's  name  to  make  a  general  offer  of 
this  peace  to  all,  not  knowing  to  whom  it  belongs, 
or  who  will  accept  of  it :  as  Cyrus  proclaimed  liberty 
to  all  the  children  of  the  captivity,  though  none 
shook  off  their  chains,  but  those  whose  spirits  God 
raised  to  go  up.  The  offer  is  made  to  you  this  day, 
and  we  beseech  you  that  you  receive  not  the  grace  of  God 
herein  in  vain.  You  are  not  sure  that  ever  you  shall 
have  another  offer  made  you,  and  therefore,  for  the 
Lord's  sake,  do  not  reject  this. 

(2.)  We  are  to  pray  for  peace  to  all ;  not  only  to 
make  a  tender  of  it,  but  to  seek  unto  God  for  it. 
Peace  be  unto  you  is  the  benediction,  which  with 
grace,  necessarily  prefixed,  the  apostle  Paul  gives 
to  all  his  friends  to  whom  he  directs  his  epistles, 
Grace  be  unto  you^  and  peace.  And  all  the  ministers 
of  Christ  must  give  themselves  to  prayer  as  well  as 
to  the  ministry  of  the  word,*'  must  speak  to  God  for 
yon,  as  well  as /rom  God  to  you.  The  priests  under 
the  law  were  not  only  to  teach  the  people  the  good 
knowledge  of  God,  but  to  bless  them  in  the  name  of 
the  Lord,  to  bless  them  with  this  blessing  in  the  text, 

•  Eph.  iii.  8.       b  Prov.  viii.  21.     e  Rev.  iii.  18.       d  pg.  cxii.  3. 
e  in.  xxxii.  17.  f  laa.  Iv.  I.  v  Rev.  xxii.  17. 

h  Luke  XIX.  9.  1  Ezra  i.  3,  5.  k  Acts  vi.  4. 


The  Lord  lift  up  the  light  of  his  countenance  upon  thee^ 
and  give  thee  peace.^ 

Our  prayers  should  be  mixed  vrith  our  preaching, 
as  St.  Paul's  are  with  his  writing,  in  all  his  epistles. 
A  devout  and  pious  ejaculation  in  the  midst  of  a 
discourse,  may  help  to  raise  the  hearts  of  those  we 
speak  to,  as  well  as  our  own.  However,  our  preach- 
ing must  be  both  prefaced  and  attended  with  oar 
prayers,  else  we  do  but  half  our  work,  nay,  we  do 
none  at  all  to  any  purpose.  The  watchmen  on  Jeru- 
salem's walls  must  give  God  no  rest,  but  continue 
instant  in  prayer  :*"  and  certainly  we  shall  do  so  if 
we  be  in  good  earnest  in  our  work,  and  desire  to  see 
the  fruit  of  it ;  for  it  depends  entirely  on  the  divine 
blessing.  We  labour  in  vain,  if. God  say  of  us  as  he 
did  of  some  of  the  prophets  of  old,  they  shall  not  profit 
this  people  at  all:'^  nor  will  our  pains  in  dressing  the 
vineyard  turn  to  any  account,  if  God  command  the 
clouds  that  they  rain  no  rain  upon  it.^  And  the  dews 
of  this  blessing  must  be  fetched  down  by  prayer. 
God  will  for  it  be  inquired  of,  and  it  is  fit  he  should. 

It  is  certain  that  God's  grace  can  bring  people  to 
heaven  without  our  preaching :  but  our  preaching 
can  never  bring  people  to  heaven  without  God's 
grace;  and,  therefore,  we  should  be  as  much  in 
care,  as  much  in  eame.st,  to  pray  for  the  operations  of 
grace,  as  to  p^^opose  the  offers  of  grace ;  and  may 
better  expect  in  that  way  to  succeed.  If  we  cannot 
preach  people  to  Christ,  let  us  endeavour  to  pray  them 
to  Christ ;  for  in  vain  do  we  merely  prophesy  upon 
the  dry  bones,  saying,  Oye  dry  bones,  hear  the  word  of 
the  Lord,  for  though  the  effect  of  it  may  be  a  noise 
and  a  shaking,  yet  still  there  is  no  breath  in  them ; 
we  must  therefore  look  up,  by  prayer,  to  the  Spirit, 
as  the  prophet  did.  Come,  O  breath,  and  breathe 
upon  these  slain  ;^  and  if  a  spirit  of  life  from  God 
enter  into  them,  then,  and  not  till  then,  we  gain  our 
point.  God  can  persuade  Japhet  to  dwell  in  the  tents 
of  Shem,<i  when  we  cannot. 

Let  us  therefore  pray  for  the  peace  of  the  church 
— ^the  house — ^the  heart — ^into  which  we  enter  with 
the  gospel :  that  is, 

[1.]  We  must  earnestly  desire  the  welfare  and  sal- 
vation of  precious  souls ;  and  not  be  cold  and  indiffer- 
ent about  it  We  know  not  God's  secret  vrill,  and 
therefore  must  concur  with  his  revealed  will ;  by 
which  it  appears,  not  only  that  he  does  not  desire 
the  death  of  sinners,  but  that  he  most  pathetically 
wishes  their  life  and  happiness  ;  O  that  thou  hadst 
hearhened  to  my  commandment ."  says  he ;  O  that 
Israel  had  walhed  in  my  ways  /*  And  when  they  pro- 
mised fair,  O  that  there  were  such  a  heart  in  them  /* 
And  thus  should  we  stand  affected : — '*  Here  are 
precious  souls,  capable  of  eternal  bliss,  but  in  dan- 
ger of  eternal  ruin ;  O  that  we  could  prevail  with 


1  Numb.  vi.  26.  m  Issu  Ixii.  C, 

o  laa.  V.  6.  p  Ezek.  xxxvii.  7—10. 


r  Isa.  xlviii.  18. 


•  Ps.  Ixxxi.  13. 


B  Jer.  xxiil.  39. 
q  Gen.  ix.  27. 
t  Deal.  V.  39. 


WORK  AND  SUCCESS  OF  THE  MINISTRY. 


761 


them  to  flee  from  the  wrath  to  come,  and  to  lay  hold 
on  everlastiDg  life !  O  that  we  might  be  instrumental 
to  snatch  them  as  brands  out  of  the  burning,  and  to 
present  them  as  living  sacrifices  to  God !" 

We  should  earnestly  desire  the  salvation  of  all, 
and  the  iuectss  of  the  gospel  in  the  hands  of  others  ; 
St.  Paul  was  the  apostle  of  the  Gentiles  ;  and  yet 
bis  heart's  desire  and  prayer  to  God  for  Israel  is, 
That  they  may  be  saved,"  and  that  the  apostles  of 
the  circumcision  might  see  of  the  fruit  of  their 
labours.  But  we  should,  in  a  special  manner,  be 
wlicitons  for  the  spiritual  welfare  of  those  to  whom 
tct  are  sent,  and  with  whom  we  deal;  the  flourishing 
of  the  vineyards  which  we  are  made  the  keepers  of. 
These  were  to  the  apostle  as  his  children,  his  little 
chiidreo,  whom  he  had  a  particular  tenderness  for, 
and  of  whom  he  even  travailed  in  birth  again  to  see 
Christ  formed  in  them  ;*  he  was  even  pained  to  see 
the  accomplishment  of  his  desires  and  hopes  con- 
cerning them.  How  greatly  did  he  long  after  them 
ti//  m  the  bowels  of  Christ  Jesus,''  The  Lord  fill  all 
his  ministers  with  such  a  love  as  this  to  precious 
souls ;  that,  as  Titus  did,  we  may  walk  in  the  same 
spirit,  in  the  same  steps,  with  blessed  Paul ;  being 
Hilling  and  glad,  as  he  was,  to  spend  and  to  be 
spent  for  their  good.' 

[2.]  These  desires  of  the  salvation  of  souls  must 
le  offered  up  to  God  in  prayer.  We  must  look  up 
to  God,  and  beg  of  him  to  pity  and  help  those  whom 
we  pity,  but  cannot  help  without  his  grace,  that  are 
vet  in  the  gall  of  bitterness  and  bond  of  iniquity, 
<ind  to  deliver  them  from  going  down  to  the  pit. 
^\'e  bring  them  the  means  of  grace  ;  but  we  must 
look  up  to  him  for  a  blessing  upon  those  means,  and 
for  grace  to  go  along  with  them,  to  make  them  elTec- 
taal.  When  as  friends  of  the  bridegroom,  we  court 
the  affections  of  souls  for  him,  that  they  may  be 
(^spoused  to  him,  we  must  do  as  Abraham's  servant 
did,  look  up  to  heaven  for  success  :  O  Lord  God  of 
my  master  Abraham^  T pray  thee  send  me  good  speed 
this  day  ;y  let  the  message  of  peace  be  entertained, 
and  that  faithful  saying,  which  is  so  well  worthy  of 
ail  acceptation,  be  believed  and  accepted. 

When  we  say.  Peace  be  unto  yon,  we  mean,  The 
Lord  of  peace  himself  give  you  peace,  true  peace, 
all  peace,  always,  by  all  means  ;*  that  peace  of  God 
vhich  will  rule  in  your  hearts,*  and  make  them  holy, 
and  which  will  keep  your  hearts  and  minds,!*  and 
make  them  calm  and  easy.  We  can  but  speah  the 
^ords  of  peace,  it  is  God  only  who  can  speak  peace, 
that  can  create  peace,  and  in  his  hands  therefore  we 
leave  the  work.  We  do  but  go,  as  Gehazi,  with 
Elisha's  stafl^  which  will  not  awake  the  dead  child : 
Day,  Elisha  can  but  stretch  himself  upon  the  child ; 
he  must  look  up  to  the  God  of  life  for  the  spirit  of 
life  to  enter  into  him.^     We  cannot  by  any  power  of 

■  Rom.  X.  1.     »  Gal.  iv.  19.     w  Phil.  i.  1.     »  2  Cor.  xii.  15, 18 
7  Gen.  xxiv.  13.  «  2The9s.  iii.  1&  a  Col.  iii.  ly 


our  own  make  dead  sinners  alive,  or  drooping  saints 
lively  ;  we  must  therefore  have  our  eyes  up  to  the 
Lord,  to  say  unto  them  "  Live,'*^-^^ijo  say,  as  one  hav- 
ing authority,  (for  we  can  only  show  our  good  will,) 
Peace  be  unto  you, 

[3.]  It  is  good  to  let  those  we  preach  to  know  that 
we  pray  for  them.  We  must  not  only  say  to  God, 
Peace  be  to  this  house,  but  we  must  say  it  in  the  hear- 
ing of  those  that  dwell  in  it.  St.  Paul,  in  his  epis- 
tles, often  tells  his  friends  what  those  things  were  for 
which  he  prayed  for  thein,  that  they  might  be  en- 
couraged to  hope  they  should  obtain  those  blessings 
in  answer  to  his  prayers,  and  might  with  the  more 
boldness  ask  them  of  God  for  themselves.  The 
blessings  which  Christ's  ministers  pronounce  on  the 
congregations  of  his  people,  is  not  to  be  thought 
lightly  of,  but  to  be  reverently  waited  for,  and  gladly 
received,  because  God,  in  it,  puts  his  name  upon 
them.*  And  if  we  in  faith  say  Ameu  to  it,  we  may 
hope  that  God  will,  and  then  we  are  blessed  indeed. 

We  should  take  all  opportunities  to  make  those 
we  preach  to  sensible,  how  truly  and  earnestly  de- 
sirous we  are  of  their  eternal  peace  and  welfare  ; 
that,  if  possible,  we  may  awaken  them  to  a  due 
concern  about  it,  and  convince  them  that  we  love 
them,  which  will  very  much  facilitate  the  entertain- 
ment of  our  message.  We  should  make  it  appear, 
even  to  those  who  turn  a  deaf  ear  to  our  calls,  that 
nevertheless  we  dare  not  sin  against  the  Lord  in  ceas- 
ing to  pray  for  them.  Our  Lord  Jesus  by  his  tears 
and  good  wishes  testified  his  good  will  to  Jerusalem, 
even  when  the  things  which  belong  to  her  peace  were 
hid  from  her  eyes.' 

We  now  see  our  work,  and  something  of  the 
meaning  of  the  words  here  put  into  our  mouths ; 
Peace  be  to  this  house.  Peace  be  to  this  congregation. 
The  Lord  help  us  to  carry  them  through  all  our 
preaching,  and  praying,  with  a  sincere  love  to  Christ 
and  souls. 

IL  What  the  success  of  ministers  is,  and  is  likely 
to  be,  in  their  preaching  and  praying ;  what  is  the 
fruit  of  their  labour,  and  what  the  effect  of  their 
going  thus  from  place  to  place,  speaking  peace 
wherever  they  come,  peace  and  truth. 

As  to  themselves : — If  they  be  faithful  in  the  trust 
reposed  in  them,  and  their  hearts  upright  with  God 
in  the  discharge  of  it,  whatever  acceptance  they  and 
their  message  meet  with  among  men,  they  are  sore 
to  be  accepted  of  the  LoVd,<  and  that  they  are  am- 
bitious of,  and  labour  for.  We  are  a  sweet  savour 
unto  God  in  those  that  perish,  as  well  as  in  those  that 
aresaved,^  if  we  be  sincere  in  doing  our  part.  Though 
we  should  not  gain  our  point,  yet  we  shall  in  no 
wise  lose  our  reward ;  though  it  be  not  well  succeed- 
ed, if  it  be  said,  ^*  Well  done  thou  good  and  faithful 
servant,*'  we  shall  enter  into  the  joy  of  our  Lord,^ 

b  PliH.  iv.  7.    e  3  Kinffs  iv.  31 .  34.    d  Ezelc.  xvi.  6.    «  Numb.  vi.  37. 
f  Luke  ux.  41.    g  8  Cor.  v.  0.    h  2  Cor.  it  15.    1  lAatt.  xzv.  81 


702 


A  SERMON  CONCERNING  THE 


Our  Master  himself,  thoug^fa  as  to  tbe  chosen  rem- 
nant, he  was  sure  to  see  of  the  travail  of  his  soal*  to 
his  satisfaction ;  yet,  as  to  others,  he  had  recourse 
to  this  for  his  comfort.  Though  Israel  be  not  gathered, 
yet  shall  I  be  glorious.^  As  we  mast  deliver  our  mes- 
sage to  those  with  whom  we  deal,  whether  they  will 
hear  or  whether  they  will  forhear,'  so  when  we  come 
to  return  an  answer,,  if  we  have  delivered  it  faithfully, 
we  shall  g^ve  up  an  account  of  ourselves  with  joy, 
though  of  many  we  give  up  our  account  with  grief. 
Though  Wisdom  herself  calls,  and  yet  is  refused,  she 
will  he  justified  of  all  her  children,"*  and  glorified  of 
God ;  and  so  shall  Wisdom's  maidens.    But, 

As  to  those  to  whom  we  minister : — ^the  success  is 
varied ;  not  the  same  with  all.  On  some,  the  peace 
comes  which  we  preach  and  pray  for ;  on  others,  it 
does  not.  Some  are  the  better  for  our  preaching  and 
praying :  to  them  the  word  is  a  savour  of  life  unto 
life,"  of  life  spiritual  unto  life  eternal ;  they  are  onr 
comfort,  and  will  be  our  crown.  But  others  get  no 
good  at  all  by  the  instructions  given  them,  and  the 
pains  we  take  with  them ;  even  the  word  of  life  is  to 
them  a  savour  of  death  unto  death ;  instead  of  mak- 
ing them  better  it  makes  them  worse,  hardens  their 
hearts,  and  aggravates  their  corruption,  and  so  they 
are  twice  dead.  ^  Those  of  the  same  family,  the  same 
fraternity,  who  have  had  the  same  education,  have 
Bitten  under  the  same  ministry,  and  have  given  to 
each  other  the  right  hand  of  fellowship,  may  yet 
experience  the  effects  of  the  word  thas  vastly  dif- 
ferent. Two  in  a  bed  together f^—one  tahen  for  life, 
the  other  left  to  perish. p 

We  are  ready  to  think  the  case  is  so  plain  on  re- 
ligion's side,  that  with  all  to  whom  it  is  fairly  stated 
it  should  of  itself  carry  immediate  conviction ;  that 
Christ  and  holiness  have  such  beauty  in  them,  with- 
out comparison,  and  without  controversy,  that  all  we 
preach  to  should  presently  be  brought  to  be  in  love 
with  them.  But,  alas,  it  is  not  so ;  after  all,  many  do 
not  believe  our  report  ;**  nay,  few  in  comparison  do. 
As  it  was  among  Pharaoh's  servants,  some  took  the 
warning  given  of  the  impending  plague  of  hail,  and 
housed  their  cattle ; ''  others  did  not,  but  left  them 
in  the  field  ;  so  when  St  Paul  preached,  some  be- 
lieved the  things  that  were  spoken,"  but  others  be- 
lieved not,  though  they  were  spoken  with  such  con- 
vincing evidence.  Thus  it  has  been  constantly  from 
the  d|iys  of  the  prophets  unto  this  day ;  and  thus  it 
will  he :  the  good  seed  of  the  word  falls  on  some 
ground  where  it  is  lost  and  thrown  away ;  on  other, 
where  it  takes  root  and  brings  forth  fruit.  The 
preaching  of  Christ  and  the  apostles,  was  acceptable 
and  profitable  to  some,  while  others  contradicted 
and  blasphemed  it.  And  if  we  see  the  like  still,  we 
are  not  to  marvel  at  the  matter. 


i  Isa.  liii.  n. 
1  Ezek.  ii.  6. 
«  Jude  13. 


k  In.  xlix.  6. 
m  Prov.  1.  84.  a  3  Cor.  Ii.  16. 

F  Luke  xvii.  34.  n  Isa.  liii.  I. 


2.  It  is  unknown  to  us  what  the  success  of  oM 
ministry  will  be,  and  perhaps  what  it  is.  When  tbs 
disciples  were  to  say.  Peace  be  to  this  homttj  they 
could  not  tell  whether  the  Son  of  peace  were  there 
or  no ;  nay,  it  may  be  when  they  became  better  ao| 
quainted  with  the  house,  yet  they  could  not  with 
certainty  discover  whether  their  peace  did  rest  opoi 
it,  or  no :  The  Lord  hnoweth  them  that  are  his,^  bat 
we  do  not.  God  did  indeed  assure  Paul,  for  hill 
encouragement  to  preach  the  gospel  at  Corinth,  that 
he  had  much  people  in  that  city."  But,  ordiDari]y,| 
we  cast  the  net  into  the  sea,  not  knowing  whetherj 
any  thing  will  be  enclosed ;  nay,  oftentimes  we  toil 
all  night,  and  catch  nothing,  when  we  promised  our- 
selves a  full  draught*  And,  on  the  other  hand, 
after  many  disappointments,  at  Christ's  word  we  let  I 
down  the  net,  and  enclose  a  great  multitude. 

Sometimes  we  meet  not  with  the  success  we  hoped 
for.  Those  who  seemed  very  willing  to  hear  us,  vet 
we  cannot  persuade  to  heed  us,  nor  to  mix  faith  with 
what  they  hear.  We  are  to  them  as  a  lovely  son^/ 
but  that  is  all.  Paul  was  called,  by  vision,  to 
Macedonia;  and  yet,  at  his  first  coming,  there 
appeared  but  a  slender  harvest  to  be  gathered  io. 
Nay,  those  with  whom  we  thought  we  had  gained 
our  point,  sometimes  disappoint  us,  and  prove  not 
as  we  expected ;  the  hopeful  buds  and  blosaoms  are 
blasted,  and  no  fruit  is  brought  forth  to  perfection. 
Those  who  seemed  enclosed  in  the  gospel  net,  slip 
through  again  and  are  gone ;  and  after  they  had 
escaped  the  corruption  that  is  in  the  world,  are  agaio 
entangled  therein,  and  overcome ;'  and  forfeit  the 
peace  we  hoped  should  have  rested  upon  them.  It 
was  Christ's  prerogative  to  know  what  was  in  men, 
and  what  they  would  prove. 

Sometimes  ministers  have  better  success  than  they 
looked  for.  Nineveh  repents  at  the  preaching  of 
Jonah ;  and  the  publicans  and  harlots  were  wrought 
on  by  John  the  Baptist's  ministry,  notwithstanding 
the  great  austerity  of  his  conversation.  The  chorch 
has  sometimes  been  herself  surprised  with  the  motti- 
tude  of  her  converts,  and  has  asked.  Who  hath  be- 
gotten those  ff  Who  are  these  that  Jig  as  a  chud^ 
The  beginning  perhaps  was  small,  and  as  a  grain  of 
mustard  seed  ;  but  the  latter  end  greatly  increases. 
The  seed  that  seemed  lost  under  the  clods,  springs 
up  a  great  while  after.  One  labours,  and  another 
enters  into  his  labours  ;*  one  hand  lays  a  foanda- 
tion,  and  another  builds  upon  it.  John  the  Baptist 
was  sent  to  prepare  the  way  of  the  Lord,  and  mach 
of  the  good  effect  of  his  ministry  appeared  when  he 
was  gone.  Many  a  minister  does  more  good  than 
he  thinks  he  does,  more  than  he  can  know,  and 
more  than  perhaps  it  is  fit  he  should  know.  It  will 
be  all  in  good  time  to  know  what  fish  are  enclosed 

r  Exod.  ix.  90.  •  Acts  xxviit.  94.  t  2  Tim.  ii.  19. 

n  AcU  xviii.  10.  ▼  Luke  y.  6.  w  Esek.  xxxiii.  31 

«  9  Pet.  i4.  20.     y  Isa.  xUv.  91.     t  Isn.  Ix  8.      •  Jolin  iv.  .•«. 


WORK  AND  SUCCESS  Ot»  THE  MINISTRY. 


763 


in  the  net  when  it  is  brought  to  shore.  There  is  a 
day  in  which  the  Kecrets  of  all  hearts  will  be  mani- 
fested ;  and  let  as  jadge  nothing  before  that  time. 

3.  The  success  of  our  ministry  will  be  according  as 
people  «re.  So  much  is  intimated  in  the  text ;  ac- 
cording as  the  inhabitants  are  sons  of  peace,  or  not, 
accordingly  our  peace  will,  or  will  not*  rest  upon  the 
house.  The  physic  operates  according  to  the  con- 
ititotion  of  the  body ;  the  same  sun  softens  wax,  and 
hardens  clay ;  reeifntur  ad  modum  recipienti» — the 
effect  depends  «/Nm  the  temper  with  which  it  is  re- 
re»«c(.  The  same  parables  which  made  divine  truths 
mote  plain  and  familiar  to  those  who  were  humble 
aod  willing  to  be  taught,^  made  them  more  obscure 
to  those  who  were  proud  and  prejudiced,  and  will- 
ioglj  ignorant*  Christ  himself  is  a  precious  stone 
to  tbem  who  believe  ;  but  to  them  who  be  disobedi- 
ent be  is  a  stone  of  stumbling.  There  are  scomers, 
nbo,  when  we  have  naid  all  we  can,  will  delight  in 
scorning,  and  fools  who  will  hate  knowledge  ;^  but 
there  are  Bereans,  who  are  more  noble  and  better 
(lisposed,*  wise  just  men»  who  will  receive  instruc- 
tioD,  and  will  be  yet  wiser,  and  increase  in  learning.^ 
)f  oar  gospel  be  hid,  it  is  hid  from  those  whose 
minds  Satan  has  blinded.t  If  it  be  revealed,  it  is 
to  those  who  have  the  spirit  of  wisdom  and  under- 
standiog  though  they  be  but  babes.^ 

4.  The  success  of  our  ministry  will  be  as  God 
fieuft ;  according  as  he  gives,  or  withholds,  bis 
grace.  The  word  of  God,  like  the  rain,  shall  accom- 
plish that  for  which  he  sends  it,*  and  causes  it  to 
come,  whether  (as  Elihu  says  of  the  rain)  it  be  for 
nrrtetionn  vr  for  his  landj  or  for  mercy  f-  but  what- 
ever errand  it  is  sent  upon,  it  shall  not  return  to  him 
>oid.  If  Lydia  attend  to  the  things  that  are  spoken 
bj  Paul,  it  is  not'  because  he  b  an  eloquent  preacher, 
or  because  she  is  a  considerate  hearer,  but  because  the 
Lord  opens  her  heart.'  Paul  may  plant  j  and  Apollos 
Mjr  rafer,  but  it  is  God  only  that  yiveth  the  increase.^ 

We  have  but  the  dispensing  of  the  means  of  grace ; 
and  we  must  be  careful  and  faithful  in  doing  it ; 
but  we  have  not  the  dispensing  of  the  grace  which 
is  necessary  to  make  those  means  effectual ;  God 
reserves  that  in  bis  own  hand,  and  dispenses  it  ac- 
cording to  his  own  pleasure,  as  it  is  fit  he  should, 
for  it  is  his  own*  In  this,  our  blessed  Saviour  him- 
ielf  acquiesced ;  and  thereby  has  taught  us  to  do 
^;  Even  so,  Father ,  for  so  it  seemed  good  in  thy 
n^Ar."    Hath  not  the  potter  power  over  the  clay  ? 

As  to  our  success : 

(1-)  The  text  gives  us  encouragement  to  hope,  that 
^oc  shall  be  the  better  for  our  praying  and  preach- 
ing ;  we  shall  meet  with  those  who  are  sons  of  peace, 
^ho  are  disposed  to  submit  to  the  commands,  and 

k  Matt.  xlii.  13,  16.  e  1  Pet.  il.  7,  8.  d  Pror.  I.  22. 

•  Acts  xTii.  II.  f  Prov.  \x.  9.         r  2  Cor.  iv.  3. 4. 

*>  UatL  Ki.  25.  i  Ua.  W.  10, 11.  k  Job  xx.t7ij.  13. 

<  Acts  xTi.  14.  m  I  Cor.  iii.  6^7.         •  Luke  x.  2h 


qualified  to  partake  of  the  privileges,  of  the  gospel 
peace.  As  Wisdom  is  said  to  be  justified  by  her 
children,  so  peace,  to  be  welcomed  by  her  sons ;  and 
on  the  houses  where  these  sons  of  peace  are,  our 
Master  does  us  the  honour  to  tell  us,  that  our  peace 
shall  rest.  It  is  his  peace ;  but  he  is  pleased  to  call 
it  ours,  because  we  are  concerned,  in  the  first  place, 
to  make  sure  an  interest  in  it  ourselves ;  and  because 
we  are  intrusted  to  make  a  tender  of  it  to  others. 
It  is  our  peace,  in  the  same  sense  that  St.  Paul  calls 
the  gospel  my  gospel,^  because  he  was  a  minister  and 
messenger  of  it.  If  the  master  of  the  family  be  a 
son  of  peace,  your  peace  shall  rest  upon  the  whole 
house ;  they  will  all  fare  the  better  for  his  accept- 
ance of  your  ministry ;  Believe  in  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ,  and  thou  shaU  he  saved,  and  thy  house,^  And 
the  more  diffusive  your  benign  influences  are,  the 
more  satisfaction  it  will  be  to  you.  We  may  com- 
fort ourselves  with  this,  as  St»  Paul  does,  that  we  so 
run,  not  as  uncertainly,  we  so  fight,  not  as  those 
that  beat  the  air  ;*>  though  some  reject  our  message, 
to  others  it  will  be  acceptable ;  so  that  whatever  our 
melancholy  fears  sometimes  may  be,  we  shall  not 
labour  in  vain,  nor  spend  our  strengtii  for  nought 
and  in  vain.    But, 

Who  are  the  sons  of  peace,  on  whose  heads,  and 
hearts,  and  houses,  the  blessings  of  peace  shall 
come  ?  I  answer, 

[1.]  Those  who  are  so  by  the  designation  of  the 
divine  counsel;  the  chosen  of  God,  whom  he  hath 
set  apart  for  himself  to  be  vessels  of  mercy.'^  We 
read  of  those  whom  God  has  as  his  people,  and  whom 
Christ  has  as  his  sheep,*  who  are  yet  to  be  effectu* 
ally  called,  and  brought  home.  As  a  son  of  death 
is  one  destined  to  death,  so  a  son  of  peace  is  one 
predestined  to  peace.  The  elect  are  sons  of  peace  i 
for  they  are  heirs  of  it,  and  were  from  eternity,  in 
the  covenant  of  redemption,  given  to  Christ  who  is 
our  peace,  and  the  Prince  of  peace,  to  be  his  chil- 
dren, to  bear  his  image,  partake  of  his  nature,  and 
be  under  his  tuition,  and  as  such  to  be  presented 
to  the  Father ;  Behold  t  and  the  children  which 
God  has  given  me}  My  peace  I  leave  with  you.  The 
covenant  of  peace  between  God  and  man,  is  grounded 
upon  the  counsel  of  peace  which  was  between  the 
leather  and  the  Son  "  from  eternity,  concerning  the 
salvation  of  the  chosen  remnant. 

Now  it  is  certain,  that  all  who  were  given  to 
Christ,  shall  come  unto  him,  and  none  of  them 
perish  ;^  for  he  will  be  able  to  give  a  good  account 
of  them  all  in  the  great  day,  and  none  of  them  shall 
be  missing.  Therefore  it  is,  that  as  many  as  were 
ordained  to  eternal  life  shall  infallibly  believe,*  for 
the  election  shall  obtain,  though  the  rest  be  blinded,' 

9  Rom.  il.  IS.  p  Acts  x«i.  31.  q  1  Cor.  ix.  26. 

r  Acts  xviii.  10.  •  John  x.  16.  t  Heb.  ii.  13. 

u  Zech.  xvii.  la  ▼  John  vl.  39,  4a. 

w  Acts  xiii.  48.  X  Rom.  xl.  t. 


764 


A  SERMON  CONCERNING  THE 


because  the  foundation  of  God  stands  sure,  and  none 
of  his  purposes  are  abortive.  Those  whom  God  has 
ordained  to  glory  shall  be  brought  to  it  by  the  ordi- 
nary means  of  grace  and  peace  ;  and  ministers  are 
sent  in  pursuance  of  that  design,  that  the  purpose  of 
God  according  to  election  may  stand  J 

[2.]  Those  who  are  so  by  the  operations  of  the 
divine  grace.  They  are  the  sons  of  peace,  in  whom 
God  has  wrought  a  gracious  readiness  to  admit  the 
word  of  the  gospel  in  the  light  and  love  of  it ;  whose 
hearts  are  made  soft  to  receive  the  impressions  of  it, 
so  that  they  are  turned  as  clay  to  the  seal.  Those 
come  to  Christ,  and  so  come  under  the  dominion  of 
this  peace,  whom  the  Father  draws*  by  preparing 
grace,  and  whom,  though  unwilling,  he  makes  will- 
ing in  the  day  of  his  power,*  by  opening  their  un-* 
derstandings,  and  making  their  hearts  to  burn  within 
them ;  of  which  two  great  works  of  divine  g^ace, 
one  on  the  intellectual,  the  other  on  the  active, 
powers  of  the  soul,  our  Lord  Jesus  gave  remarkable 
specimens  while  he  was  here  upon  earth,  after  his 
resurrection,  Luke  xxiv.  32,  45. 

They  are  the  sons  of  peace ;  that  is,  qualified  to 
receive  the  comforts  of  the  everlasting  gospel ;  in 
whom  there  is  a  good  work  of  grace  wrought,  that 
whereas  they  were  by  nature  vain,  and  carnal,  and 
worldly,  are  become  serious,  and  holy,  and  heavenly ; 
who  are  born  again,  bom  from  above,  and  partake  of 
a  new  nature.  To  those  who  are  sanctified,  and  to 
those  only,  we  are  commissioned  to  speak  peace. 
Therefore  the  apostolical  benediction  puts  grace  be- 
fore peace ;  Grace  be  unto  you,  and,  then,  peace. 
Those  only  who  have  received  the  spirit  of  holiness, 
are  entitled  to  the  consolations  of  God. 

(2.)  Wherein  shall  those  who  are  thus  the  sons  of 
peace  be  the  better  for  our  ministry  ?  We  are  here 
told,  that  our  peace  shall  rest  upon  them,  that  is, 

[1.]  Our  prayers  for  them  shall  be  heard.  And 
even  with  an  eye  to  our  prayers,  and  in  answer  to 
them,  as  well  as  to  his  own  promises,  and  in  per- 
formance of  them,  God  will  bestow  upon  them  all 
that  good  which  is  necessary,  and  will  be  suflicient, 
to  make  them  happy  for  ever  and  easy  now.  When 
we  bespeak  peace /or  them,  God  will  speak  peace 
to  them,  he  will  bless  his  people  with  peace  ;*>  will 
pay  out  the  legacy  which  Christ  has  left,  by  his 
last  will  and  testament,  to  all  who  are  his  disciples 
indeed,  upon  our  suing  it  out  for  them, — even  his 
peace.'  This  is  an  encouragement  to  us  to  pray 
particularly  for  good  Christians  who  are  troubled  in 
mind,  and  are  of  a  sorrowful  spirit ;  and  to  be  hum- 
bly earnest  with  God  in  prayer  for  them,  when  it 
may  be  they  cannot  with  any  confidence  pray  for 
themselves — that  it  is  here  promised  that  peace  shall 
be  given,  to  all  those  to  whom  it  belongs,  in  answer 


f  Rom.  ix.  11. 
bPB.  xxix.  n. 
•  Ps.  Ixxxv.  8. 


s  John  vl.  44. 
«  John  xiv.  27. 


•  Ps.  ex.  a 
d  James  t.  ig. 
f  Ps.  xcvii.  n. 


to  our  prayers ;  so  that  the  effectually  fervent  prayej 
of  a  righteous  man  may  avail  mu^hr*  and  wha< 
a  joy  may  it  be  to  us,  if  we  thus  become  helpers  ol 
the  joy  of  the  Lord's  people !  And  though  the  an^ 
swer  of  peace  does  not  come  quickly,  we  must  con* 
tinue  to  pray  and  wait,  and  hearken  what  God  tb« 
Lord  will  speak ;  for,  sooner  or  later,  he  will  speak 
peace  to  his  people  and  to  his  saints.*  Light  is 
sown  for  them,'  and  in  due  time  it  will  come  up  id 
a  harvest  of  joy,  though  it  may  be  it  was  sown  id 
tears. 

When  we  pronounce  the  blessing  of  peace  upod 
a  mixed  congregation, — as  to  them  who  are  indeed! 
the  sons  of  peace,  God  will  say  Amen  to  the  blessing, 
will  put  his  Jiat — let  it  be  done,  to  it,  "  They  are 
blessed  and  they  shall  be  blessed."  We  pray  for 
all, — God  will  hear  us  for  those  who  are  the  children 
of  the  covenant,  and  the  promise ;  as  Abraham  pnirs 
for  Ishmael,'  and  God  hears  him  for  Isaac.  As  the 
hand  of  his  wrath  shall  find  out  all  his  enemies  ;^  so 
the  hand  of  his  grace  and  blessing  shall  find  oat  all 
his  friends,  wherever  they  are,  none  of  them  shall  be 
lost  in  the  crowd. 

[2.]  Our  preaching  to  them  shall  answer  the  end, 
and  be  effectual.  If  they  be  the  sons  of  peace,  the 
glad  tidings  of  peace  we  bring  shall  instruct  themJ 
and  increase  their  knowledge ;  shall  invite  tbeoi  to 
Christ,  and  strengthen  their  faith  in  him ;  shall  work 
upon  their  affections,  and  inflame  their  love  to  him  ; 
shall  govern  them,  and  influence  their  whole  con- 
versation ;  shall  comfort  them,  and  enlarge  their 
hearts  to  run  the  way  of  God's  commandments.  Oar 
peace  shall  come  upon  them  as  a  light  shining  from 
heaven  to  guide  their  feet  into  the  paths  of  peace, 
and  in  those  paths ;  nay,  it  shall  come  upon  them  as 
power  from  on  high,  botli  to  rule  their  hearts,'  and 
give  law  to  them ;  and  to  keep  their  hearts,^  and 
give  comfort  to  them.  It  shall  come  upon  them,  as 
the  rain  comes  copiously  upon  the  earth  to  water  it: 
and  they  shall  drink  in  this  rain,  and  bring  forth 
herbs  meet  for  them  by  whom  they  are  dressed.^ 

But  O  what  a  comfort  is  it,  to  be  instrumental 
in  furthering  the  holiness,  and  joy,  of  the  sons  of 
peace;  in  carrying  the  heirs  of  heaven  forward 
toward  their  inheritance !  Herein,  we  have  the  ho- 
nour of  being  workers  together  with  God ;  and  as 
under  shepherds,  serving  the  gracious  purposes  of 
the  chief  Shepherd,  who  gathers  the  lambs  in  his 
arms,  and  carries  them  in  his  bosom." 

[3.]  The  fruit  of  both  shall  remain ;"  your  peace 
shall  not  only  come,  but  rest,  upon  the  sons  of  p^a<^^< 
it  shall  continue  with  them,  and  they  shall  never 
lose  the  power  and  benefit  of  it ;  it  is  a  good  par^ 
which  shall  never  be  taken  away"  from  those  who 
have  it ;  this  peace  shall  take  such  deep  rooting  m 


ff  Gen.  xvii.  18, 19. 
k  Phil.  iv.  7. 
B  John  XV.  IS. 


h  Ps.  xxL  8. 
I  Heb.  vi.  7. 


i  Col  iil.  15 
nlsaxl.  H 

9  Luke  X.  *«■ 


WORK  AND  SUCCESS  OF  THE  MINISTRY. 


765 


the  sodI  that  it  sball  never  be  extirpated  ;  it  shall 
be  a  well  of  living  water  which  shall  still  springy  up 
to  life  eternal.*  Oar  Saviour  encouraged  his  disci- 
ples with  this,  when  he  sent  them  forth  into  his  har- 
vest,—That  they  were  gathering  fruit  unto  life  eter- 
nal ;f  in  which  both  he  who  sows  and  they  who 
feap  shall  for  ever  rejoice  together. 

(3.)  The  text  also  shows  us  that  we  ought  not  to 
be  overmuch  discouraged  in  our  work,  though  there 
be  many  who  are  never  the  better  for  our  praying 
and  preaching.  If  the  sons  of  peace  be  not  among 
those  to  whom  we  bring  the  glad  tidings  of  peace ; 
if  those  to  whom  we  minister  be  wilful  and  obstinate, 
and  tarn  a  deaf  ear  to  the  calls  of  the  word,  and  will 
not  hearken  to  the  voice  of  the  charmer ;  if  we  can- 
not fasten  any  thing  upon  them,  to  convince  them 
of  their  folly  in  a  sensual  indulgence  of  the  body, 
and  a  senseless  neglect  of  their  souls ; — ^they  who 
wtre  filthy,  are  filthy  still ;  and  all  the  day  long  do 
we  stretch  out  our  hands  in  vain  to  a  rebellious  gain- 
sajiog  people. 

Id  this  case,  onr  own  hearts  suggest  to  us  many 
sad  thoughts :  It  is  a  temptation  to  us  to  question 
tbe  credibility  and  acceptableness  of  the  truths  we 
preach,  when  there  are  so  many  who  cannot  be 
biOQght  to  entertain  them,  and  submit  to  them  ;  to 
^aestioD  whether  it  be  any  advantage  to  have  the 
oracles  of  God  and  the  means  of  grace,  and  whether 
it  were  not  as  good  be  without  them,  since  to  so  many 
vbo  have  them  they  are  in  vain.  But  we  have  ready 
an  answer  to  this  temptation,  What  if  tome  did  not 
Mine  ?  (Nay,  what  if  many  did  not  ?)  Shall  their 
viMff  invalidate  the  covenant  of  grace  and  peace, 
and  meke  the  truth  of  God  of  none  effect  ?  God  forbid  .'<) 
We  are  told,  previously,  that  so  it  would  be ;  and, 
therefore,  it  ought  not  to  be  a  stumbling-block  to 
Q&  And  the  reason  why  they  do  not  believe,  and 
are  not  sons  of  peace,  is  not  because  there  wants 
vsy  thing  to  recommend  this  peace  to  them,  but  be- 
cause their  minds  are  blinded  by  the  love  of  the  world 
ud  the  lusts  of  the  flesh,  and  they  will  not  come  to 
Christ  for  eye-salve,  will  not  come  to  him  that  they 
nisfat  have  life.' 

It  is  likewise  a  temptation  to  us  to  question,  Whe- 
tber  we  have  the  presence  of  God  with  us  in  our 
ninistiy,  or  no  ?  We  are  ready  to  say,  as  Gideon  did, 
If  the  Lord  be  with  v#,  where  are  all  the  wonders  that 
nrfatkert  told  us  of?*  the  wonders  that  were  wrought 
^y  the  powers  of  the  word,  in  casting  down  imagina- 
^s,  and  bringing  high  thoughts  into  obedience  to 
Christ:*  we  now  see  not  such  signs;  there  are  no 
iMre  any  converts ;  or,  very  few  like  the  grape- 
gieanings  of  the  vintage. 

As  to  this,  the  text  intimates  that  which  may  en- 
^^n^t  as,  and  g^ve  us  satisfaction.  If  we  meet 
vith  those  who  are  not  the  sons  of  peace, 

•  Jolm  IT.  14.     p  John  iv.  38.       «  Rom.  lit.  3.     r  John  v.  40. 
>  Jod.  vi.  11   t  2  Cor.  x.  5.    «  I  JohD  v.  IS.    «  laa.  xlyiii.  20-n 


[1.]  It  is  true  that  our  peace  shall  not  come,  or 
rest,  upon  them,  as  it  does  upon  them  who  are  the 
sons  of  peace  ;  our  prayers  are  not  heard  for  them. 
We  know  not  who  have  sinned  unto  death,  while 
there  is  life  there  is  hope,  and  therefore  we  arc  to 
pray  for  the  worst ;  but  if  we  did  know,  concerning 
any,  as  certainly  as  Samuel  did  concerning  Saul, 
that  God  had  rejected  them,  we  should  have  very 
little  reason  to  pray  for  them.  There  is  a  sin,  a  sin- 
ner, unto  death;  I  do  not  say  that  he  shall  pray  for 
it.^  Our  preaching  speaks  no  comfort  to  them ;  for 
we  are  to  separate  between  the  precious  and  the  vile. 
And  at  the  same  time  we  say,  God  has  redeemed  his 
servant  Jacob,  and  they  thirsted  not  when  he  led  them 
through  the  deserts,  we  must  add,  yet  there  is  no  peace, 
saith  the  Lord,  unto  the  wicked/  When  this  bless- 
ing is  pronounced  upon  the  congregation,  those  in 
it  who  are  not  the  sons  of  peace  have  no  part  or  lot 
in  the  matter,^  it  is  not  designed  for  them.  Behold, 
my  servants  shall  eat,  but  ye  shall  be  hungry.'^  It  is 
true,  that  grace  and  peace  shall  be  with  them  all 
who  love  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  in  sincerity  ;f  but  it 
is  as  true,  that  if  any  man  love  not  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ,  he  is,  and  shall  be,  anathema :  maran-atha,^ 
accursed :  the  Lord  comes/  The  blessing  that  rests 
upon  the  sons  of  peace  shall  never  come  upon  the 
sons  of  Belial. 

In  God's  name  I  therefore  testify,  to  all  who 
hear  me  this  day,  If  you  do  not  submit  your  souls 
to  the  sanctifying,  commanding  power  of  the  gospel 
truths,  they  speak,  they  bring,  no  peace  to  you. 
You  have  no  right  to  the  blessings  of  the  covenant, 
nor  can  lay  any  claim  to  its  comforts,  unless  you 
come  up  to  the  terms  of  the  covenant,  and  come 
under  the  bonds  of  it.  Those  and  those  only  shall 
find  rest  for  their  souls*  iu  Christ,  who  are  willing 
to  take  his  yoke  upon  them.  You  have  many  excel- 
lent ministers,  and  a  great  deal  of  lively,  serious, 
powerful  preaching ;  you  have  precept  upon  precept, 
and  line  upon  line :  but  all  this  will  bring  no  peace 
to  you,  if  you  continue  under  the  power  of  a  vain 
and  carnal  mind, — nay,  it  will  but  aggravate  your 
condemnation  another  day. 

We  dare  not  speak  peace  to  those  to  whom  the 
God  of  heaven  does  not  speak  peace ;  nor  tell  those 
who  go  on  still  in  their  trespasses,  they  shall  have 
peace  notwithstanding ;  we  should  be  false  to  God 
and  your  souls  if  we  did.  However  you  may  flatter 
yourselves,  we  dare  not  flatter  you,  in  a  sinful  way ; 
we  have  not  seen  visions  of  peace  for  you,  and 
therefore  must  not  speak  words  of  peace  to  you.  To 
what  purpose  would  it  be  to  daub  a  wall  with  «fi- 
tempered  mortar,^  which  would  soon  fall  and  bury 
you,  and  us  too,  in  the  ruins  of  it?  We  must  say  to 
every  impenitent  sinner,  as  Jehu  did  to  Joram's  mes- 
senger, iv/iat  hast  thou  to  do  with  peace  .^  True  peace 

w  ActA  vili.  91.     s  laa.  xW.  13.     7  Eph.  vl.  24.    ■  I  Cor.  xvi.  n, 
a  Matt.  xi.  ao.        <>  Ezek.  xlii.  10, 16.       e  3  Kings  ix.  is. 


766 


A  SERMON  CONCERNING  THB 


thou  canst  not  hare  withoat  holiness.  Be  willing 
therefore,  and  obedient ;  and  now  at  length,  in  this 
thy  day,  understand  the  tkings  which  belong  to  thy 
peace  ;  for,  (blessed  be  God  !)  yet,  they  are  not  hid 
from  thine  eyes. 

[2.]  The  peace  that  does  not  find  sons  of  peace  to 
rest  upon  shall  turn  to  us  again.  And  this  ought  to 
satisfy  us  ;  as  it  quieted  David,  when  he  prayed  for 
his  persecutors,  that  though  his  Idndness  did  not 
work  upon  them,  nor  were  his  prayers  heard  for  them 
perhaps,  yet  they  returned  into  his  own  bosom.*' 

Our  peace  shall  turn  to  us ;  that  is, 

(1.)  We  shall  haye  the  comfort  of  having  done 
our  duty  to  God,  in  discharge  of  our  trust ;  and  of 
having  done  our  part  toward  their  salvation,  in  love 
to  their  souls.  This  will  be  peace  to  us,  though  it  be 
not  peace  to  them.  Abundance  of  peace  we  may  have 
in  our  own  bosoms,  if  we  have  the  testimony  of  our 
consciences  for  us,  that  we  have  dealt  plainly  with 
them,  have  given  them  fair  warning  of  their  misery 
and  danger  by  reason  of  sin,  have  said  again  and 
again,  O  wiched  man,  thou  shalt  surely  die  f  have 
endeavoured  to  open  to  them  the  remedial  law  of 
repentance  toward  God,  and  faith  toward  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ ;  and  have  not  wilfully  kept  back  any 
thing  that  was  profitable  to  them  ;'  though  we  have 
piped  to  them  and  they  have  not  danced,  have 
mourned  unto  them,  and  they  have  not  lamented.' 
We  have  done  what  we  could,  to  frighten  them  from 
sin  with  the  terrors  of  the  law,  and  to  allure  them 
to  Christ  with  the  comforts  of  the  gospel ;  but  all  in 
vain,  they  have  not  been  wrought  upon  either  by 
the  one  or  by  the  other :  yet  their  infidelity  and  ob- 
stinacy shall  be  no  bar  to  our  acceptance  with  God, 
who  will  have  an  eye  to  our  sincerity,  not  to  our 
success. 

.  This  peace  will  be  our  peace  still,  if  we  have 
some  good  hope,  through  grace,  that  though  we  can- 
not prevail  with  others  to  come  to  Christ,  yet  we 
have  ourselves  an  interest  in  him ;  i)^nit  we  shall 
save  ourselves,  though  we  save  not  all  who  hear  us  ;'■ 
that  whatever  becomes  of  them,  we  shall  not  be  cast 
away  at  last.  If  othere  be  not  the  better  for  our 
labours,  the  peace  may  return  to  ourselves,  if  we  be 
the  better;  for  we  preach  to  ourselves,  and  must 
edify  ourselves ;  and  the  less  good  we  think  we  do 
to  others'  souls,  the  more  good  let  us  endeavour  to 
get  to  our  own  souls,  and  then  take  the  comfort  of 
it  When  those  disciples  returned,  to  whom  Christ 
gave  these  instructions  in  the  text,  though  they  had 
had  wonderful  success,  even  beyond  their  own  ex- 
pectation, yet  Christ  directs  them  to  rejoice  more  in 
the  assurances  they  themselves  had  of  their  own 
bliss,  than  in  their  triumphs  over  Satan  in  others : 
In  this  rejoice  not,  that  the  devils  are  subject  to  you, 
but  rather  rejoice  that  your  names  are  written  in 

A  Psalm  xzxv.  13.       •  Ezek.  xxxili.  S.      f  Acts  zx.  20,  21. 
ff  Matt  xf .  IT.       h  t  Tim.  iv.  16.  i  Luke  x.  ao. 


heaven.^    And  this  cause  for  joy  every  faithful  min- 
ister has,  though  he  has  not  the  success  he  wishes  for. 

(2.)  We  shall  have  commission  to  go  on  in  our 
work  notwithstanding.    Our  peace  shall  turn  to  us 
again ;  not  only  to  be  enjoyed  by  ourselves,  but  to  be 
bestowed  upon  others,  and  communicated  to  them, 
to  the  next  we  meet  with  who  are  sons  of  peace.     If 
one  will  not  be  wrought  upon,  it  is  to  be  hoped  an- 
other will.    Though  many  disbelieve  our  report,  yet 
all  do  not ;  there  are  some  who  will  bid  it  welcome. 
Though  the  body  of  the  Jewish  nation  rejected  the 
gospel  of  Christ,  yet  at  this  present  time/  (sajs  the 
apostle,)  when  the  ferment  is  at  the  highest,  and  the 
opposition  given  to  the  gospel  is  most  violent,  yet 
there  is  a  remnant  according  to  the  election  of  graee^ 
a  remnant  even  of  that  nation,  who  are  sons  of  peace. 
And  when  the  Jews  thrust  the  kingdom  of  Grod  away 
from  them  by  their  unbelief,  the  Gentiles  embraced 
it  with  both  arms.    The  peace  which  the  apostles 
made  a  tender  of  to  them,  but  they  refused,  was  still 
in  their  hands,  to  carry  to  the  Gentiles :  Xo,  we  turn 
to  them.^ 

It  is  indeed  a  temptation  to  us,  when  oar  message 
is  slighted,  to  say.  We  will  go  no  more  on  this  er- 
rand  ;  as  Jeremiah  was  ready  to  say,  when  his  min- 
istry was  ridiculed,  /  will  not  mahe  mention  of  the 
Lord,  nor  speah  any  more  in  his  name  r"*  but  we  must 
never  yield  to  any  temptation  of  this  kind,  for  woe 
unto  us,  if  we  preach  not  the  gospel,  as  we  have  op- 
portunity, whatever  the  issue  be.  If  men  will  not 
hear  us,  our  God  will ;  and  will  crown  humble,  ho- 
nest labours  in  his  service  with  comfort  and  glory, 
though  they  should  not  be  crowned  with  any  re- 
markable success. 

(3.)  We  shall  be  witnesses  against  those  who  re- 
fuse so  fair  an  offer.  Our  peace  shall  return  to  us 
again,  as  the  summons  is  returned  to  the  ofllcer,  if 
the  party  summoned  is  not  to  be  found,  that  It  may 
be  produced  in  evidence,  that  he  was  legally  sum- 
moned. The  gospel  is  a  testimony  to  us  ;*  but  if  we 
receive  it  not,  it  will  be  a  testimony  against  us.* 
And  the  ministers  of  that  gospel,  who  now  follow 
you  with  importunity  from  day  to  day,  beseeching 
you  in  Christ's  stead  to  be  reconciled  to  God,  but 
all  in  vain,  will  give  up  a  sad  account  concerning 
yon ;  and  yon  will  be  upbraided  with  all  the  pains 
they  have  taken  among  you  ;  it  will  all  be  brought 
into  the  account,  with  a  '*  Son  remember  ;"  that  will 
enhance  the  reckoning,  and  inflame  the  torment. 
The  servant  who  was  sent  to  invite  the  guests  to  the 
wedding  supper,  when  he  met  with  a  repulse,  came 
and  showed  his  lord  all  these  things.**  Ministers 
bring  in  an  account  of  the  fruit  of  their  labours. 
While  the  sons  of  peace  will  be  their  joy  and  crown 
of  rejoicing,  those  who  continue  in  a  state  of  en- 
mity will  be  for  ever  struck  speechless  by  their  testi- 


k  Rom.  xi.  3. 
n  Matt.  xxir.  14. 


I  AcU  xili.  4S. 
o  Matt.  X,  18, 


m  Jer.  X.  9. 
P  Luke  xlv.  21. 


WORK  AND  SUCCESS  OF  THE  MINISTRY. 


767 


mony  against  them  2  "  Lord,  we  called,  bat  they  re- 
fiued ;  we  warned  them,  day  and  night,  with  tears, 
bnt  they  stiffened  their  necks  and  hardened  their 
hearts,  and  sent  ns  away  grieyed."  Many  a  time 
tbey  complained  of  it  at  the  throne  of  grace,  and  it 
made  their  work  go  on  heavily  npon  their  hands, 
their  ^oals  wept  in  secret  for  it ;  but  when  they  shall 
testify  it  before  the  throne  of  judgment,  they  will 
awfally  applaud  and  acquiesce  in  the  sentence  past 
npoD  them,  and  be  content  to  see  them  perish. 

Let  us  now  make  some  application  of  all  briefly. 

1.  Let  this  awaken  us  who  are  ministers  to  be 
faithful,  and  serious,  and  diligent  in  delivering  our 
message ;  as  those  who  are  in  some  measure  sensi- 
ble of  the  vast  importance  of  the  work  we  are  em- 
ployed in,  and  the  dispensation  that  is  committed  to 
OL  O  that  I  coald  stir  up  my  own  heart,  and  yours, 
daly  to  consider  the  inestimable  value  of  that  trea- 
sare  which  is  lodged  in  us,  though  we  are  but  earthen 
Tessela  ;**  that  peace  which  we  are  to  bring  in  God's 
name  to  mankind  ;  those  talents  with  which  we  are 
to  trade  till  our  Lord  comes.  Let  us  think  who  we 
are  in  trust  for:  for  Christ  and  his  honour,  and 
the  interests  of  bis  kingdom  among  men ;  for  pre- 
cioQs  souls,  and  their  everlasting  welfare.  We 
deal  in  matters  of  life  and  death ;  O  let  our  care 
and  zeal  be  proportionable;  and  let  us  make  a 
business  of  our  ministry,  let  us  wait  upon  it,'  and 
give  ourselves  wholly  to  it,'  as  those  who  must  give 
accoant, — ^that  our  Lord  when  he  comes  may  find  us 
doing,  to  doing. 

If  we  be  unskilful,  and  know  not  how  to  divide 
the  word  of  troth  and  peace  aright ;'  if  we  be  un- 
faithful, and  soothe  men  up  in  their  sins,  or  any  way 
handle  the  word  of  God  deceitfully,  seeking  our  own 
things  more  than  the  things  of  Christ ;  if  we  be 
slothful,  and  unwilling  to  take  pains,  not  affected 
osrseWes  with  the  great  things  of  God  with  which  it 
is  oar  business  to  affect  others ;  if  we  be  lifeless  and 
careless  in  praying  and  preaching,  and  defeat  the 
end  of  the  matter  of  both  by  the  slight  manner  of  the 
perfonnance ; — ^we  shall  have  a  great  deal  to  answer 
for  another  day.  If  the  watchmen  do  not  give  wam- 
ingr  or  not  so  that  it  is  likely  to  be  heard  or  heeded, 
the  sinners  will  perish  ;  but  their  blood  will  be  re- 
quired at  the  watchmen's  hands." 

And  let  us  remember  that  we  are  to  bring  peace 
vith  us  in  all  onr  ministrations,  that  peace  of  God 
vhich  passeth  all  conception  and  expression ;  and 
therefore  we  ought  to  apply  ourselves  to  that  busi- 
ness, and  not  meddle  with  things  that  belong  not  to 
OS.  We  are  ambassadors  of  peace ;  let  us  not  then 
Mw  discord,  nor  foment  divisions ;  for  if  we  do,  we 
contradict  our  character,  and  forfeit  the  honour  of 
it  Let  us  be  at  peace  among  ourselves,  and  covet 
the  blessedness  of  those  who  are  peace-makers. 

2.  Let  us,  when  we  have  done  what  we  can,  look 


«2Cor.  iv.  10. 


r  Horn.  x)i.  7. 


•  1  Tim.  IT.  15. 


up  to  God  for  the  success.  We  ought  earnestly  to 
desire  that  our  labour  may  not  be  in  vain,  and  to  be 
in  care  that  nothing  may  be  wanting  on  our  part,  in 
order  to  the  good  effect  of  it ;  we  should  do  more 
good  if  we  were  but  more  solicitous  to  do  good,  and 
set  ourselves  to  devise  things  proper  for  that  end, 
to  choose  out  words  wherevrith  to  reason  with  people 
about  their  souls.  But  still  we  must  depend  upon 
the  blessing  of  heaven  for  their  success ;  and  must 
be  earnest  in  prayer  for  that  blessing.  We  can  but 
speak  to.  the  ear,  it  is  God  only  that  can  teach  the 
heart,  and  seal  the  instruction  there. 

When  we  go  to  study,  let  us  pray  to  God  to  put  a 
word  into  our  mouth  that  shall  suit  the  case,  and 
reach  the  consciences,  of  those  to  whom  we  are  to 
speak  ;  to  direct  us  both  in  the  choice  and  manage- 
ment of  our  subjects,  to  fill  our  hands,  (as  the  He- 
brew phrase  for  consecration,)  that  we  may  fill  the 
people's  hearts,  when  we  go  to  preach.  Still  we 
need  help  from  heaven  to  deliver  onr  message  as  be- 
comes the  oracles  of  God ;  with  purity,  gravity,  and 
sincerity ;  with  an  air  of  tenderness  and  humility, 
as  those  who  know  the  worth  of  souls,  and  our  own 
unworthiness ;  and  yet  with  an  air  of  assurance,  as 
those  who  are  confident  of  the  truth  of  what  we  say, 
and  who  know  whom  we  have  trusted.  When  we 
have  preached,  we  have  but  sown  the  seed ;  still  we 
must  look  up  to  God  to  water  it,  and  to  give  to  every 
seed  its  own  body.  When  we  proceed  to  pray,  we 
must  fetch  in  the  influences  of  the  blessed  Spirit,  to 
help  us  against  onr  praying  infirmities.  Nay,  we 
must  look  up  to  God  for  a  blessing  upon  every  word 
of  advice,  reproof,  and  comfort  that  we  give,  that  it 
may  answer  the  end. 

And  as  we  are  to  pray  for  the  success  of  our  own 
endeavours,  so  likewise  we  must  be  earnest  with 
God  in  grayer  for  the  ooncnrrence  of  his  grace  with 
the  labours  of  others.  Thus  we  muMt  help  one  an* 
other ;  and  thus  we  may,  though  we  are  at  a  great 
distance  from  each  other,  and  cannot  otherwise  be 
helpful.  When  the  apostle  forbids  wishing  <«  good 
speed ''  to  those  who  bring  any  other  doctrine,^  it  is 
intimated,  that  it  was  usual  with  the  primitive  Chris- 
tians and  ministers  to  bid  those  "  God  speed  "  who 
brought  the  true  doctrine  of  Christ  Those  who  la- 
bour in  Christ's  harvest  should  be  prayed  for,  as 
of  old  the  reapers  were,  by  them  who  passed  by ;  77m 
blessing  of  the  Lord  he  upon  you  ;  we  hUss  you  in  the 
nmme  of  the  Lord,''    God  speed  the  gospel-plough ! 

3.  Let  us  be  very  careful  that  we  do  not,  by  any 
irregularity  in  our  conversation,  hinder  the  success 
of  our  praying  and  preaching,  and  defeat  the  ends 
of  them.  If  we  be  proud  and  vain,  and  loose  in  our 
walking ;  if  we  be  intemperate,  and  indulgent  of 
the  flesh ;  if  we  be  covetous,  selfish,  and  worldly;  if 
we  be  contentious,  peevish,  and  passionate ;  or  if 
any  corrupt  communication  proceed  out  of  onr 

t  2 11m.  it.  1&.    u  Eiek.  xxxiU.  6.   v  3  John  10.    v  Pi.  cxxix  8. 


768 


A  SERMON,  &c. 


month ; — ^we  pall  down  with  one  hand  what  we  boild 
ap  with  the  other ;  and  not  only  tempt  people,  bat 
even  force  them,  to  think,  that  we  ourselves  do  not 
believe  what  we  would  persuade  them  to  believe ; 
and  when  we  appear  most  serious  in  our  pablic  per- 
formances, do  but  act  a  part,  and  talk  thus  only  be- 
cause it  is  oor  trade :  we  do  also  provoke  God  to 
withdraw  his  presence  from  us,  and  to  say,  as  he  does 
of  those  prophets  who  walk  not  in  his  counsels, 
Tketf  shall  noi  profit  this  people  at  alL* 

Let  our  conversation  be  not  only  blameless  and 
harmless,  but  exemplary  for  every  thing  that  is  vir- 
tuous and  praise- worthy ;  thus  let  our  light  shine, 
that  others  may  be  taught,  and  guided  and  quick- 
ened, by  it.  Then  may  we  hope  it  shall  be  with  us 
as  it  was  with  Levi  of  old,  who,  while  he  walked  with 
God  in  peace  and  equity,  tamed  many  away  from 
iniquity^ 

4.  What  success  of  our  labours  we  have  the  com- 
fort of,  let  God  have  all  the  glory  of.  Do  we  meet 
with  any  of  those  to  whom  we  minister  in  holy  things, 
who  are  awakened  to  a  concern  about  their  souls 
and  eternity,  and  are  asking  the  way  to  Zion  with 
their  faces  thitherward?"  Are  there  any  of  the 
children  we  have  catechized  who  hold  fast  the  form 
of  sound  words  in  faith  and  love,  knd  have  we  the 
satisfaction  of  seeing  them  walk  in  the  trath  ?  When 
we  look  into  the  vineyards  we  are  made  the  keepers 
of,  do  we  find  that  the  vines  do  in  any  measure 
flourish,  and  the  tender  grapes  appear;*  that  the 
souls  we  watch  over  prosper  and  are  in  health  ?  We 
cannot  but  rejoice' herein,  rejoice  greatly;  yet  let  us 
rejoice  with  humility ;  for  I  am  sure  we  have  nothing 
to  be  proud  of,  nothing  to  boast  of,  but  a  great  deal 
to  be  ashamed  of,  and  great  reason  to  admire  God's 
gracious  condescension,  that  he  is  pleased  thus  far 
to  own  us,  to  honour  us,  though  most  unworthy.  Let 
us  rejoice  with  thankfulness,  with  many  thanks- 
givings to  God,  whose  strength  is  perfected  in  weak- 
ness, and  his  praise  ordained  out  of  the  mouth  of 
babes  and  sucklings.  St  Paul,  in  his  epistles,  gives 
thanks  to  God  for  those  churches  that  he  had  com- 
fort in,  and  hopes  of. 

But  let  us  rejoice  with  trembling,  lest  those  whom 
we  think  espoused  as  chaste  virgins  to  Christ  should 
yet  be  beguiled,  as  Eve  was,  by  the  subtilty  of  the 
tempter ;  and  let  us  always  be  jealous  over  them,  as 
Paul  was  over  his  friends,  with  a  godly  jealousy,^ 
lest  it  should  prove  at  last  we  have  bestowed  upon 
them  labour  in  vain.' 

6.  What  disappointments  we  meet  with,  let  as  bear 
them  patiently.  Let  us  inquire  whether  we  have  not 
been  wanting  in  our  duty,  and  be  humbled  for  our 
defects,  and  acknowledge  that  the  Lord  is  righteous. 
St.  Paul  owns,  that  by  the  miscarriages  of  those 
among  whom  he  had  laboured,  his  God  humbled  him 


s  Jer.  xxili.  32. 
•  Cant  vii.  12. 


7  Mai.  ii.  C 
b  3  Cor.  xi.  2,  3. 


■  Jer.  I.  ft. 
•  lTbeiB.iil.  ft. 


among  them ;  ^  and  the  same  good  use  we  should 
make  of  the  same  trial,  let  it  help  to  hide  pride  from 
us,  and  oblige  us  to  depend  upon  the  sufficiency  of 
divine  grace,  and  not  upon  any  thing  in  ourselves, 
for  without  Christ  we  can  do  nothing. 

When  we  suspect  we  do  little  good,  yet  let  it  be 
a  comfort  to  us  that  we  are  going  on  in  the  vtay  of 
our  duty ;  that  we  are  presiding  in  solemn  religious 
assemblieSf/rom  one  new  moon  to  another^  and  from 
one  sabbath  to  another,  and  so  are  serving  Christ  and  | 
his  glory  in  the  world.  Good  may  be  in  operation, 
and  we  not  aware  of  it;  the  gospel  works  like  leaven, 
silently  and  insensibly ;«  and  like  the  seed  cast  into 
the  ground,  which  grows  up  (we  know  not  how)  | 
while  we  sleep,  first  the  blade,  then  the  ear,  after 
that  the  full  com  in  the  ear.'  Nor  let  it  be  any  un- 
easiness to  us,  that  we  are  kept  in  doubt  and  in  the 
dark  concerning  the  success  of  our  labours.  When 
the  net  is  drawn  to  shore  we  shall  see  what  is  en- 
closed ;  what  good  fish,  and  what  bad : '  and  let  us 
judge  nothing  before  the  time ;  the  great  day  will 
clear  all,  and  we  must  wait  till  then. 

Bat  if  there  be  those  whose  sins  go  before  unto 
judgment,  who  manifestly  hate  to  be  reformed,  and 
will  go  on  frowardly  in  the  way  of  their  heart; 
though  we  cannot  but  look  upon  them  many  a  time 
with  a  sad  heart,  yet  in  this  we  mast  be  satisfied, 
that  Ood  will  be  glorified:  if  God  be  not  honoured 
by  them,  he  will  get  him  honour  upon  them,  as  he 
did  on  Pharaoh.  They  to  whom  our  labour  is  in  vain 
arc  not  sons  of  peace ;  and,  therefore,  it  should  not 
be  expected  that  our  peace  should  rest  upon  them  ; 
Christ  will  see  his  seed,  and  we  must  not  think  to  .^ee 
any  other  for  ours.  If  divine  mercy  be  not  glorified 
in  their  salvation,  divine  justice  will  be  glorified  in 
their  destruction ;  and  they  will  have  nothing  to  say 
for  themselves^  nor  will  their  ministers  have  any 
thing  to  say  for  them :  the  dresser  of  the  vineyard 
who  had  interceded  for  the  barren  fig-tree,  will  be 
pleased,  if  at  length  it  bear  frait,  but  if  not,  he  gives 
it  up,  Then  after  that  thou  shali  cut  it  down,^ 

To  conclude :  Let  this  be  an  awakening  word  to 
all  of  you.  You  are,  in  this  world,  probationers  for 
etemity ;  accordingly  as  you  are,  now,  sons  of  peace 
or  not,  it  is  likely  to  be  with  you  for  ever.  Are  yoar 
ministers  desirous  to  have  their  peace  rest  upon  you, 
and  are  not  yoa  desirous  of  it  ?  Are  they  in  care 
about  your  souls,  and  will  not  you  be  in  care  about 
them?  Ton  have  life  and  death,  good  and  evil,  set 
before  you :  choose  life,  that  you  may  live,  may  live 
for  ever.  But  if  you  will  not  come  up  to  the  terms  of 
peace,  but  will  perish  in  your  rebellion,  you  cannot 
say  but  yon  have  had  fair  waming  given  you  of  the 
consequences  of  it,  so  that  your  watchmen  have  de- 
livered their  souls,  and  left  your  blood  to  lie  upon 
your  own  heads. 


4  2  Cor.  xii.  21.        o  Malt.  ziii.  33. 
r  Matt.  ziil.  48. 


f  BSark  iv.  26~9S. 
b  Luke  ziii.  19. 


A  SERMON 


ON 


THE  PROMISES    OF   GOD. 


PREACHED  MAY  THE  7th,  1710. 


2  GoR.  Tii.  1. 

Having  therefore  these  promises,  dearly  beloved,  let 
Iff  deanse  otareelves  from  all  JiJlthiness  of  the  flesh 
end  spirit,  perfecting  holiness  in  the  fear  of  God. 

It  is  the  unspeakable  privilege  of  all  believers  to 
bafe,  as  a  certain  possession,  the  precious  promises 
of  God.  But  under  what  notion  have  we  the  pro- 
mises of  God  ? 

1.  We  have  them  as  manifest  tokens  of  God's 
favour  towards  us ;  and  every  one  of  them  are  yea, 
amen,  in  Christ  Jesus  our  Lord. 

2.  We  have  them  as  fruits  of  Chrisf  s  purchase. 
The  Lord  haying  purchased  us  with  his  own  blood, 
ve  have  these  promises  prodaced  by  that  inestima- 
ble grace. 

3.  They  are  plain  and  ample  declarations  of  the 
l^ood-will  of  God  towards  men,  and  therefore  as 
God's  part  of  the  covenant  of  grace. 

4.  They  are  a  foundation  of  our  faith,  and  we  have 
tbem  as  such  ;  and  also  of  our  hope,  on  these  wc 
are  to  build  all  oor  expectations  from  God ;  and  in 
all  temptationB  and  trials  we  have  them  to  rest  our 
soqIs  upon. 

5.  We  have  them  as  the  directions  and  encou- 
xagements  of  oor  desires  in  prayer.  Seek  and  you 
^1  find,  knock  and  it  shall  be  opened  unto  yoa. 
Wherefore  they  are  the  guide  of  our  desires,  and 
the  ground  of  oar  hope  in  prayer. 

6.  We  haYC  them  as  the  means  by  which  the 
$race  of  God  works  for  our  holiness  and  comfort, 
for  by  these  we  are  made  partakers  of  a  divine 
nature,  and  faithy  applying  these  promises,  is  said 
to  work  by  love. 

7.  We  have  the  promises  as  the  earnest  and 
assurance  of  fatare  blessedness.  By  these  eternal 
life  and  glory  is  secured  to  all  true  believers. 

And  now,  having  observed  these  things,  let  as 
reriew  the  blessed  promises  of  God ;  and 

3  D 


The  first  is, — He  hath  promised  that  we  shall  be 
his  people. 

The  Scripture, — Now  therefore,  if  ye  will  obey 
my  voice  indeed,  and  heep  my  covenant,  then  ye  shall 
be  a  peculiar  treasure  unto  me  above  all  people ;  for 
all  the  earth  is  mine,  Exod.  xix.  5. 

The  second  promise, — ^That  all  our  sins  shall  be 
pardoned. 

/,  even  I,  am  he  that  blotteth  out  thy  transgressions 
for  mine  own  sake,  and  will  not  remember  thy  sins, 
Isa.  xliii.  25. 

The  third, — ^That  our  corruptions  shall  be  subdued. 

For  sin  shall  not  hare  dominion  over  you  ;  for  ye 
are  not  under  the  law,  but  under  grace,  Rom.  vi.  14. 

The  fourth,— That  the  Spirit  of  grace  shall  be 
given  us,  to  enable  us  for  our  duty  in  every  thing. 

/  will  put  my  Spirit  within  you,  and  cause  you 
to  walh  in  my  statutes,  and  ye  shall  heep  my  judgments, 
and  do  them,  Ezek.  xxxvi.  27. 

The  fifth,— That  God  will  put  it  particularly  into 
our  hearts,  or  circumcise  our  hearts  to  love  him. 

The  Lord  thy  God  will  circumcise  thine  heart,  and 
the  heart  of  thy  seed,  to  love  the  Lord  thy  God  with 
all  thine  heart  and  with  all  thy  soul,  that  thou  mayest 
live,  Deut.  xxx.  6. 

The  sixth, — ^That  he  will  give  us  the  knowledge 
of  his  truth,  and  the  comfort  and  the  benefit  of  it. 

Ye  shall  hnow  the  truth,  and  the  truth  shall  make 
you  free,  John  viii.  32. 

The  seventh, — ^That  Ke  will  unite  our  hearts  to 
himself  and  to  each  other. 

/  will  give  them  one  heart  and  one  way,  that  they 
may  fear  me  for  ever,  for  the  good  of  them  and  of 
their  children  after  them,  Jer.  xxxii.  30. 

The  eighth,— That  he  will  be  tender  of  those  that 
are  weak. 

He  shall  feed  his  floeh  like  a  Shepherd:  he  shall 
gather  the  lambs  with  his  arm,  and  carry  them  in  his 
bosom,  and  shall  gently  lead  those  that  are  with  young, 
Isa.  xl.  11. 


770 


A  SERMON  ON  THE  PROMISES. 


The  ninth,— That  he  will  direct  us  in  the  way  of 
our  duty. 

Good  and  upright  is  the  Lord:  therefore  will  he 
teach  sinners  in  the  way.  The  meek  will  he  guide  in 
judgment,  and  the  meek  will  he  teach  his  way,  Ps. 
XXV.  8,  9. 

The  tenth,— That  he  will  protect  us  from  every 
thing  that  is  really  evil. 

The  Lord  shall  preserve  thee  from  all  evil:  he  shall 
preserve  thy  soul.  The  Lord  shall  preserve  thy  going 
out  and  thy  coming  in,  from  this  time  forth  and  even 
for  evermore,  Psa.  cxxi.  7,  8. 

The  eleventh,— That  he  will  supply  us  with  all 
good. 

l^he  young  lions  do  lack,  and  suffer  hunger:  but 
they  that  seek  the  Lord  shall  not  want  any  good  thing, 
Ps.  xxxiv.  10. 

The  twelfth, — That  he  will  answer  our  prayers. 

Whatsoever  ye  shall  ask  in  my  name,  that  will  I  do, 
that  the  Father  may  be  glorified  in  the  Son,  John 
xiv.  13. 

The  thirteenth, — ^That  he  will  silence  our  fears. 

/  the  Lord  thy  God  will  hold  thy  right  hand,  saying 
unto  thee,  Fear  not,  I  will  help  thee,  Isa.  xli.  13. 

The  fourteenth, — ^That  he  will  bear  us  up  under 
our  burthens. 

Hie  eternal  God  is  thy  refuge,  and  underneath  are 
the  everlasting  arms,   Deut.  xxxiii.  27. 

The  fifteenth, — ^That  he  will  give  us  a  sure  and 
lasting  peace. 

The  work  of  righteousness  shall  be  peace ;  and  the 
effect  of  righteousness,  quietness  and  assurance  for 
ever,  Isa.  xxxii.  17. 

The  sixteenth, — That  he  will  admit  us  into  fellow- 
ship and  communion  with  himself. 

Blessed  is  the  man  whom  thou  ehoosest,  and  eausest 
to  approach  unto  thee,  that  he  may  dwell  in  thy  courts: 
we  shall  be  satisfied  with  the  goodness  of  thy  fiouse, 
even  of  thy  holy  temple^  Ps.  Ixv.  4. 

The  seventeenth, — ^That  he  will  give  us  the  com- 
fortable enjoyment  of  ourselves. 

Ilis  soul  shall  dwell  at  ease;  and  his  seed  shall 
inherit  the  earth,  Ps.  xxv.  13. 

The  eighteenth, — ^That  he  will  deliver  us  in  and 
under  our  troubles. 

Because  he  hath  set  his  love  upon  me,  therefore  will 

1  deliver  him:  I  will  set  him  on  high,  because  he 
hath  known  my  name.  He  shall  call  upon  me,  and  I 
will  answer  hi$n:  I  will  be  with  him  in  trouble;  I 
will  deliver  him  and  honour  him,  Ps.  xci.  14,  15. 

The  nineteenth, — ^That  he  will  affect  us  in  measure 
and  in  mercy,  when  we  have  need  of  it. 

I  will  be  his  Father,  and  he  shall  be  my  son.  If 
he  commit  iniquity,  I  will  chasten  him  with  the  rod  of 
men,  and  with  the  stripes  of  the  children  of  men : 
but  my  mercy  shall  not  depart  away  from  him,  as  I 
took  it  from  Saul,  whom  I  put  away  before  thee, 

2  Sam.  vii.  14,  15. 


The  twentieth, — That  he  will  spare  us  with  the 
tenderness  of  a  fatherly  compassion. 

They  shall  be  mine,  saith  the  Lord  of  hosts,  in  that 
day  when  I  make  up  my  jewels ;  and  I  will  spare 
them  as  a  man  spareth  his  own  son  that  serveth  him, 
Malachi  iii.  17. 

The  twenty-first, — ^That  he  will  not  persist  in  his 
controversy  with  us. 

1  will  not  contend  for  ever,  neither  will  I  be  alwayt 
wroth :  for  the  spirit  should  fail  before  me,  and  the 
souls  which  I  have  made,  Isa.  Ivii.  16. 

The  twenty-second, — ^That  he  will  speak  comfort 
to  us  when  we  are  in  sorrow. 

/  will  hear  what  God  the  Lord  will  speak :  for  he 
will  speak  peace  unto  his  people,  and  to  his  saints : 
but  let  them  not  turn  again  to  folly,  Ps.  Ixxxv.  8. 

The  twenty-third, — ^That  he  will  proportion  our 
trials  to  our  strength. 

There  hath  no  temptation  taken  you  but  such  as  is 
common  to  man :  hut  God  is  faithful,  who  will  not 
suffer  you  to  be  tempted  above  that  ye  are  able ;  hut 
will  with  the  temptation  also  make  a  way  to  escape, 
that  ye  may  be  able  to  bear  it,  1  Cor.  x.  13. 

The  twenty-fourth, — ^That  he  will  put  true  honour 
upon  us. 

Them  that  honour  me  1  will  honour,  1  Sam.  ii.  30. 

The  twenty-fifth,— That  he  will  feed  us  with  food 
convenient  for  us. 

Trust  in  the  Lord,  and  do  good;  so  shalt  thou 
dwell  in  the  land,  and  verily  thou  shalt  be  fed,  ^s. 
xxxvii.  3. 

The  twenty-sixth, — That  he  will  clear  up  our  in- 
jured  reputation. 

He  shall  bring  forth  thy  righteousness  as  the  light, 
and  thy  judgment  as  the  noon^day,  Ps.  xxxvii.  6. 

The  twenty-seventh,— That  he  will  comfort  and 
relieve  us  in  sickness. 

The  Lord  will  strengthen  him  upon  the  bed  €ff  lan- 
guishing :  thou  wilt  make  all  his  bed  in  his  sickness, 
Ps.  xli.  3. 

The  twenty-eighth,— That  he  will  prevent  our 
apostasy  from  htm. 

/  will  make  an  everlasting  covenant  with  them,  and 
I  wUl  not  turn  away  from  them,  to  do  them  good ; 
but  I  will  put  my  fear  m  their  hearts,  thai  they  shall 
not  depart  from  me,  Jer.  xxxii.  40. 

The  twenty-ninth,— That  he  will  make  all  events 
conduce  to  our  real  welfare. 

We  know  that  all  things  work  together  for  good  to 
them  that  love  God,  to  them  who  are  the  called  accord- 
ing to  his  purpose,  Rom.  yiii.  28. 

The  thirtieth,— That  he  will  perfect  the  work  of 
grace  in  us. 

Being  confident  of  this  very  thing,  that  he  which 
hath  begun  a  good  work  in  you  will  perform  it  until 
the  day  of  Jesus  Christ,  Phil.  i.  6. 

The  thirty-fir.Ht, — ^Tbat  he  will  be  with  us  when 
we  are  old,  to  bear  us  up  under  all  our  infirmities. 


A  SERMON  ON  THE  PROMISES. 


771 


Eveu  io  yowr  old  age  I  am  he  ;  and  even  to  hoary 
hairt  in//  /  carry  you :  I  have  made,  and  I  will  bear  ; 
tven  I  wiil  carry,  and  will  deliver  you,  Isa.  xlvi.  4. 

The  thirty-second, — ^That  he  will  never  desert  us 
in  any  exigence  whatsoever. 

For  he  hath  said,  I  will  never  leave  thee,  nor/orsahe 
thee,  Heb.  xiii.  5. 

The  thirty-third, — ^That  he  will  give  ns  victory 
oTer  oar  spiritaal  enemies. 

The  God  of  peace  shall  bruise  Satan  under  your 
feet  shortly,  Rom.  xvi.  20. 

The  thirty-foarth, — ^That  he  will  recompense  our 
charity  to  the  poor. 

He  that  hath  pity  upon  the  poor,  lendeth  vnto  the 
Lord;  and  that  which  he  hath  given  will  he  pay  him 
a^aiji,  Prov.  xix.  17. 

The  thirty-fifth, — That  he  will  make  up  all  our 
losses  for  his  name's  sake. 

Every  one  that  hath  forsaken  houses,  or  brethren, 
or  sisters,  or  father,  or  mother,  or  wife,  or  children, 
or  lands  for  my  natne's  sake,  shall  receive  an  hundred- 
fold^ and  shall  inherit  everlasting  life,  Matt.  xix.  29. 

The  thirty-sixth,— That  he  will  let  us  live  long 
enoQ^h  in  this  world,  and  give  us  a  comfortable 
prospect  of  a  better. 

With  long  life  wiU  I  satisfy  him,  and  show  him  my 
sdt€tion,  Ps.  xci.  16. 

The  thirty-seventh, — ^Thathe  will  be  with  us  when 
ve  come  to  die. 

Yea,  though  I  weslk  through  the  valley  of  the  shadow 
tf  death;  I  will  fear  no  evU:  for  thou  art  with  me; 
tky  rod  and  thy  staff  they  comfort  me,  Ps.  xxiii.  4. 

The  thirty-ei^^hth, — That  he  wiil  receive  our  souls 
ioto  the  arms  of  bis  love. 

But  God  will  reeleem  my  soul  from  the  power  of  the 
$rine:  for  he  shall  receive  me.     Selah  !  Ps.  xlix.  15. 

The  thirty-ninth, — ^That  he  will  take  care  of  our 
posterity  when  we  are  gone. 

The  children  of  thy  servants  shall  continue,  and  tlteir 
tttd  shall  he  established  before  thee,  Ps.  cii.  28. 

The  fortieth, — ^That  he  will  raise  our  bodies  to  life 

This  is  the  will  of  him  that  sent  me.  That  every 
<me  which  seeth  the  Son,  and  believeth  on  him,  may 
line  trerlasting  life  '  and  I  will  raise  him  up  at  the 
•W  day,  John  vi.  40. 

The  forty-first, — That  he  will  own  us  in  the  judg- 
ment of  the  great  day. 

Whosoever  therefore  shall  confess  me  before  men, 
ffim  will  I  comfese  also  before  my  Father  which  is  in 
^ten.  Matt.  x.  32. 

The  forty-second, — That  he  will  put  us  into  pos- 
session of  everlasting  bliss. 

And  this  is  the  promise  that  he  hath  promised  us, 
fren  eternal  life,  1  John  ii.  25. 


3  D  2 


Repetition  Text. 

Having  therefore  these  promises,  dearly  beloved,  let  us 
cleanse  ourselves  from  allfilthiness  of  the  flesh  and 
spirit,  perfecting  holiness  in  the  fear  of  God, 

And  now  what  shall  we  say  to  these  things  ? 

I.— 1.  Let  us  be  thankful  to  God  for  all  these 
great  and  precious  promises,  that  God  should  not 
only  do  us  good,  but  engage  himself  by  promises 
to  do  so. 

2.  Let  us  be  ashamed  of  ourselves  that  we  have 
not  lived  more  upon  these  promises. 

3.  Let  us  encourage  ourselves  with  these  promises 
to  go  on  cheerfully  and  resolutely  in  the  way  of  our 
duty. 

4.  Let  us  acknowledge  the  truth  of  God,  and  his 
faithfulness  to  his  promises.  There  hath  not  failed 
one  word  of  all  his  good  promise.  Sec.  1  Kings  viii.  56. 

5.  We  are  concerned  to  treasure  up  these  promises, 
that  we  may  have  them  ready  to  use  when  we  have 
occasion  for  them,  to  silence  our  fears,  and  to 
strengthen  our  faith. 

6.  Behold,  what  need  we  have  to  live  by  faith, 
through  which,  and  by  which,  we  make  use  of  these 
promises.  God  gives  by  promise  that  we  may  take 
by  faith ;  therefore  set  about  that  work,  and  be  much 
in  the  exercise  of  it. 

II.  Here  is  our  duty  inferred  from  this  privilege. 
Let  us  cleanse  ourselves  from  all  filthiness  of  flesh 
and  spirit :  by  which  is  understood, 

1.  We  must  abhor  that  which  is  evil,  and  abandon 
all  sin  with  an  holy  detestation. 

2.  We  must  cleave  to  that  which  is  good ;  we 
must  perfect  holiness  in  the  fear  of  God.  Observe, 
The  consideration  of  God's  promises  to  us  should 
strongly  engage  us  against  all  sin,  and  to  all  duty. 
To  show  you  what  strength  there  is  in  this  argument 
taken  from  the  promises,  to  abhor  that  which  is  evfl, 
observe,  (1.)  We  are  bound  in  gratitude  to  please  him 
who  has  given  us  so  many,  so  great  and  precious, 
promises,  Ps.  cxvi.  12.  What  shall  I  render?  Oh, 
how  great  is  his  goodness  which  he  hath  laid  up  for 
them  that  fear  him !  God  hath  spoken  in  his  holi- 
ness, I  will  rejoice,  Ps.  cviii.  7.  Observe,  (2.)  We 
forfeit  the  benefit  of  God's  promises  if  we  do  not 
make  conscience  of,  and  endeavour  to  keep,  his 
commands.  Let  us  therefore  fear,  lest  a  promise 
being  left  us  of  entering  into  his  rest,  any  of  you 
should  seem  to  come  short  of  it,  Heb.  iv.  I. 

III.  We  are  taught  the  blessed  fruits  of  these 
promises. 

1.  These  promises  furnish  us  with  strength  and 
grace  sufficient  against  sin,  and  for  duty.  Turn 
you  at  my  reproof,  behold,  I  will  pour  out  my  Spirit 
upon  you,  I  will  make  known  my  words  unto  you. 

2.  These  promises  speak  the  language  of  Caleb 
and  Joshua,  who  said,  We  are  well  able  to  overcome 


772 


A  SERMON  ON  THE  PROMISES. 


the  people,  when  they  are  about  to  enter  into 
Canaan;  while  the  other  spies  discouraged  the* 
tribes.  Thus  we  may  say,  through  the  strength  of 
divine  grace,  we  shall  be  well  enabled  to  overcome 
all  our  spiritual  enemies,  namely,  the  world,  flesh, 
and  devil,  Ezek.  xxxvi.  26.    Observe  it 

3.  God  is  faithful  to  these  promises  which  he  has 
made  to  us.  Therefore  we  must  not  be  false  to  those 
promises  which  we  have  made  to  him,  Heb.  x.  23. 
Let  us  hold  fast  the  profession  of  our  faith  without 
wavering,  for  he  is  faithful  that  promised. 

4.  In  having  these  promises  we  have  great  honour 
put  upon  us,  and  we  ought  to  carry  it  as  becomes 
us.  God  has  promised  to  be  to  us  a  faithful  God,  a 
loving,  a  tender  Father.  Let  us  not  wander  out  of 
the  way  of  duty.  If  we  have  received  the  promise, 
as  Abraham  did,  we  ought  to  do  some  great  act,  in 
our  obedience  to  his  commands,  as  he  did. 

5.  The  promises  secure  to  us  an  abundant  reward 
for  our  obedience ;  therefore  let  us  be  stedfast  and 
immovable,  always  abounding  in  the  work  of  the 
Lord,  knowing  that  our  labour  shall  not  be  in  vain 
in  the  Lord,  1  Cor.  xv.  58. 

And  now  having  observed  these  things  concerning 
the  promises,  let  us  explain  fully  the  duty  which  is 
inferred.    It  contains  two  parts, 

I.  To  be  cleansed  from  all  filthiness  of  flesh  and 
spirit. 

II.  To  perfect  holiness  in  the  fear  of  God. 
I.  We  must  be  cleansed,  &c. 

1.  Therefore  let  us  look  upon  sin  as  filthiness; 
let  the  grace  of  God,  and  the  purity,  not  only  of  his 
nature,  but  also  of  his  word  and  promises,  make 
sin  more  odious  and  terrible  than  in  the  threatenings 
it  appears  dangerous.  In  the  promises,  sin  appears 
loathsome,  and  filthiness  itself.  For,  observe,  (1.)  It 
is  odious  to  God,  contrary  to  that  purity  of  nature 
which  appears  in  his  promises,  which  should  deter 
us  from  sin,  Jer.  xliv.  4.  Oh  !  do  not  this  abomin- 
able thing  that  I  hate.  Gen.  xxxix.  9,  How  can  I 
do  this  great  wickedness  and  sin  against  God! 
Observe,  (2.)  Look  upon  sin  as  that  which  unfits  us 
for  communion  with  God;  therefore,  upon  this 
account,  let  sin  become  odious  to  us.  Observe,  (3.) 
Sin  in  Scripture  is  called  and  compared  to  a  wound, 
to  a  plague,  to  leprosy,  &c.  and  all  to  make  us  fear 
and  loathe  it. 

2.  Let  us  cleanse  ourselves  from  this  filthiness,  by 
receiving  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ ;  for  it  is  he  that 
is  made  to  us  both  righteousness  and  sanctification. 
It  is  our  duty  to  cleanse  ourselves,  but  we  cannot  do 
this  without  God's  grace,  and  he  will  not  do  it  with- 
out our  endeavours.  This  implies,  (1 .)  That  we  truly 
repent  of  the  sins  which  we  have  committed,  and 
loathe  ourselves  for  them.  Whenever  we  go  to  wor- 
ship God,  we  must  lie  down  in  our  shame,  and  abhor 
ourselves,  repenting  in  dust  and  ashes.  (2.)  That  by 
faith  we  apply  the  blood  of  Christ  to  our  consciences, 


and  sprinkle  them  with  it,  and  that  we  wash  in  that 
fountain  opened  for  sin  and  uncleanness.  We  read 
that  the  Ammonites  made  themselves  odious  in  the 
nostrils  of  David,  and  so  they  hardened  themselves, 
that  is,  strengthened  themselves,  against  him.  Let 
us  not  act  so  against  God,  but  let  us  lie  low  before 
the  Lord,  and  make  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  our  friend 
to  reconcile  us  to  God. 

3.  Let  us  mortify  the  habits  of  sin,  and  parge  oat 
the  old  leaven,  both  in  the  head  and  in  the  heart 
Get  clear  of  our  bad  principles,  that  we  may  not 
make  so  light  of  sin  as  we  have  done ;  cleanse  oar- 
selves  from  corrupt  fancy,  cleanse  ourselves  from  all 
filthiness  that  is  in  the  imagination.  Great  pains 
must  be  taken  with  the  heart,  to  get  it  clear  of  all 
corrupt  inclinations.  Wash  ye,  make  ye  clean, 
indulge  no  evil  thoughts  in  your  hearts. 

4.  Let  us  watch  against  all  occasions  of  sin,  that 
is,  all  those  things  by  which  you  have  contracted 
pollutions.  Have  no  fellowship  with  the  unfraitfal 
works  of  darkness,  but  rather  reprove  them.  Keep 
at  a  distance  from  every  thing  which  has  the  appear- 
ance of  evil. 

5.  Let  us  resolve  for  the  future  to  have  no  more  to 
do  with  sin.  Refrain  from  all  acts  of  sin.  Let 
him  that  has  stole  steal  no  more,  Eph.  iv.  28.  Let 
him  that  has  been  drunk  or  unclean,  be  so  no  more, 
Isa.  iv.  4.  When  the  Lord  shall  have  washed  away 
the  filth  of  the  daughters  of  Zion,  and  shall  have 
purged  the  blood  of  Jerusalem  from  the  midst  thereof, 
by  the  spirit  of  judgment,  and  by  the  spirit«of  bam- 
ing,  that  is,  by  a  saving  knowledge  of,  and  a  sin- 
cere love  to,  God  and  his  commandments,  sabmit  to 
the  Spirit's  influences,  or  you  will  never  get  the 
mastery  over  your  sins  and  corruptions.  Therefore 
you  must  put  on  a  holy  resolution,  and  take  the 
kingdom  of  heaven  by  violence,  for  the  violent  take 
it  by  force. 

6.  Our  care  herein  must  be  universal.  'We  must 
cleanse  ourselves,  (1.)  from  all  filthiness  of  the  flesh, 
from  sloth  fulness  and  the  love  of  ease,  from  sensuality 
and  the  love  of  pleasure,  from  gratifying  the  desires 
of  the  body  with  forbidden  fruit,  or  indulging  them 
too  much,  to  the  damage  of  the  soul ;  for  even  lawful 
pleasures  may  turn  into  sin  without  due  care  and 
watchfulness  over  ourselves,  such  as  gluttony, 
drunkenness,  or  seventh-commandment  sins.  (2.) 
We  must  cleanse  ourselves  from  all  filthiness  of  the 
spirit ;  from  pride,  covetousness,  and  the  love  of  the 
world,  from  fraud,  deceit, and  injustice,  Job  xxxi.  7. 
from  all  sinful  anger,  malice,  hatred,  and  desire  of 
revenge ;  for  these  are  spiritual  filthinesses,  from  all 
which  we  must  be  cleansed. 

II.  We  must  perfect  holiness  in  the  fear  of  God. 

1.  We  must  be  holy. 

That  is  taken  for  granted ;  for  we  cannot  perfect 
holiness  unless  we  begin  it.  We  must  be  holy. 
What  is  that?  (1.)  We  must  be  devoted  to  God,  as 


A  SERMON  ON  THE  PROMISES. 


773 


all  holy  persons  and  things  ander  the  law  were. 
We  mast  be  holinejis  to  the  Lord.  (2.)  We  must  be 
conformed  to  God's  likeness,  and  to  bis  will.  God's 
holiness  is  his  a{[jeement  with  himself;  our  holiness 
is  oar  agreeableness  to  him.  We  must  act  in  every 
thing  as  becomes  our  relation  to  God,  Col.  i.  10. 
That  ye  might  walk  worthy  of  the  Lord  unto  all 
pleasing,  &c.  and  the  image  of  God  must  be  renewed 
apon  us ;  be  ye  holy,  saith  the  Lord,  for  I  am  holy. 
;3.)  We  must  be  employed  in  the  services  and  wor- 
ship of  God ;  we  must  engage  our  hearts  in  all  our 
approaches  to  him ;  we  must  employ  our  minds,  and 
all  the  powers  of  our  souls,  in  all  the  inward  acts  of 
inward  worship,  and  in  all  outward  worship  also  we 
most  not  only  bow  the  knee,  but  also  the  heart,  before 
the  Lord;  for  heartless  worship  is  vain  worship, 
God  will  not  accept  it,  and  we  ourselves  shall  be  no 
gainers  by  it,  so  it  most  be  in  vain.  (4.)  We  must 
beengagedin  tfae  interests  of  God's  kingdom  amongst 
men.  To  be  holy,  is  to  be  on  the  Lord's  side,  and 
to  espouse  his  cause,  to  be  his  witnesses,  to  be  cou- 
rageous and  valiant  for  the  truth,  to  contend  earn- 
estly for  it,  for  grreat  is  the  truth  and  it  shall  prevail ; 
God  will  own  and  honour  those  that  do  own  and 
bonoor  him. 

2.  We  must  be  sincere  in  our  holiness,  or  per- 
fecting holiness.  For  sincerity  is  our  gospel  perfec- 
tion, as  a  good  man  said.  I  know  no  religion  but 
sincerity,  this  is  uprightness.  Walk  before  me  and 
be  thou  upright.  By  this  is  understood,  (1.)  We 
mast  be  sanctified  throughout  The  whole  man  must 
be  sanctified.  The  understanding  must  be  enlight- 
ened, the  will  bowed  and  brought  into  obedience  to 
the  will  of  God,  both  to  the  will  of  his  precepts  to 
do  them,  and  to  the  will  of  his  providences  to  sub- 
mit to  them ;  and  thus  we  stand  complete  in  the 
wbole  will  of  God,  that  we  may  be  sanctified  in 
body,  soul,  and  spirit,  and  so  be  perfecting  holiness 
in  the  fear  of  God.  (2.)  The  whole  law  of  God 
mast  be  regarded,  and  a  respect  had  to  it.  Then 
shall  I  not  be  ashamed,  when  I  have  respect  unto  all 
tbj  commandments,  Ps.  cxix.  6.  Let  my  heart  be 
soond  in  thy  statutes  that  I  be  not  ashamed,  v.  80. 
I  esteem  all  thy  precepts  concerning  all  things  to  be 
right ;  and  I  hate  every  false  way,  v.  128.  O  let  us 
laboar  to  be  sincere  to  the  day  of  Christ,  like  good 
^d  faithful  servants  waiting  for  the  coming  of  the 
Lord. 

3.  We  must  be  growing  and  making  progress  in 
boliness ;  though  we  cannot  perfect  it  in  this  world, 


yet  we  must  be  perfecting  it,  that  is,  adding  a 
greater  degree  to  a  lesser,  pressing  forwards  towards 
perfection.  (1.)  The  habits  of  grace  must  grow 
more  confirmed  and  rooted,  our  resolutions  against 
sin  more  settled,  ^nd  our  resolution  for  God  and 
duty  more  steady.  This  is  to  perfect  what  is  lacking 
in  our  faith,  1  Thess.  iii.  10.  (2.)  The  actings  of 
grace  must  grow  more  and  more  vigorous  and  lively. 
We  must  be  more  ready  for  every  good  work.  We 
must  have  more  spiritual  success  in  a  lively  exercise 
to  resist  sin,  and  all  temptations  that  would  insnare 
us.  (3.)  We  must  be  more  and  more  watchful,  and 
upon  our  guard.  Let  him  that  thinketh  he  standeth 
take  heed  lest  he  fall.  Therefore  be  not  high  minded, 
but  fear,  Rom.  xi.  20.  We  must  never  think  our- 
selves good  enough,  and  safe  enough,  but  must  be 
still  growing  wiser  and  better.  (4.)  We  must  be 
actuated  and  animated  therein  by  the  fear  of  God. 
That  is,  [I.]  We  must  keep  up  a  constant  worship 
of  God  in  our  families,  and  in  our  closets ;  we  must 
be  frequent  in  holy  adorings  and  admirings  of  God. 
This  will  be  a  good  means  of  perfecting  holiness,  to 
be  in  the  fear  of  the  Lord  every  day,  and  all  the  day 
long.  [2.]  We  must  maintain  a  reverent  regard  to 
his  majesty  and  authority,  and  this  will  keep  us  from 
sin ;  when  others  make  bold  with  sin,  we  must  stand 
in  awe  of  God,  as  Nehemiah  did,  ch,  v.  15.  But 
so  did  not  I,  because  of  the  fear  of  God.  3.  We 
must  have  a  continual  dread  of  his  wrath  and  vin- 
dictive justice.  A  fear  of  God's  wrath  and  dis- 
pleasure will  be  a  means  of  keeping  ourselves  in 
the  love  of  God,  looking  for  the  mercy  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  unto  eternal  life. 

To  conclude.  The  apostle  directs  his  exhortation 
to  his  dearly  beloved,  so  do  I  to  you,  my  dearly 
beloved. 

1.  Apply  the  promises  to  yourselves,  live  upon 
them,  take  them  to  be  your  heritage  for  ever.  Both 
you  that  are  young,  and  you  that  are  old,  treasure 
up  the  promises.  2.  Apply  the  precepts  to  yourselves, 
and  live  up  to  them,  and  be  holy  in  all  manner  of 
conversation.  Keep  a  conscience  always  void  of 
ofience  both  towards  God  and  towards  man. 

And  now,  brethren,  I  commend  you  to  God,  and 
to  the  word  of  his  grace,  which  is  able  to  baild  you 
up,  and  to  give  you  an  inheritance  among  all  them 
which  are  sanctified,  Acts  xx.  32.  And  may  you 
be  always  looking  unto  Jesus,  the  Author  and 
Finisher  of  faith,  till  you  come  to  be  for  ever  with 
him.    Amen. 


DISPUTES    REVIEWED: 


IN 


A  SERMON, 


PREACHED  AT  THE  EVENING  LECTURE,  AT  SALTERS  HALL, 

ON  LORD'S  DAY,  JULY  23rd,  1710. 


Mark  ix.  33. 

What  was  it  that  ye  disputed  among  yourselves  by 

the  way? 

Our  Lord  Jesas  is  here  calling  his  disciples  to  an 
account  about  a  warm  debate  they  happened  to 
have  among  themselves,  as  they  travelled  along, 
upon  a  question  often  started,  but  not  yet  deter- 
mined. Which  of  them  should  be  the  greatest?  They 
thought  no  other  but  that  their  Master  should  shortly 
enter  upon  the  possession  of  a  temporal  kingdom, 
and  all  the  pomp  and  grandeur  of  it,  and  they  should 
be  preferred  with  him;  but  they  could  not  agree 
who  should  be  prime-minister  of  state,  and  have  the 
first  post  of  honour.  It  is  a  sad  instance  of  the  re- 
mainders of  corruption  in  the  hearts  even  of  good 
people ;  and  shows  that  pride,  ambition,  and  affect- 
ation of  worldly  honour,  are  sins  that  do  most  easily 
beset  even  Christ's  own  disciples ;  which,  therefore, 
we  should  all  carefully  watch  and  strive  against. 

Probably  our  Lord  Jesus  overheard  some  words 
that  passed  in  this  dispute ;  for  those  who  are  hot 
upon  an  argument  are  apt  to  speak  louder  than  be- 
comes them ;  and  when  the  temper  is  not  kept  within 
due  bounds,  commonly  the  voice  is  not.  But  whether 
he  overheard  them  or  no,  he  knew  very  well  what 
they  had  been  talking  of,  and  every  word  that  had 
been  said,  and,  which  was  more  than  any  man  could 
know,  from  what  principle  it  was  said,  and  what 
more  they  would  have  said ;  for  as  there  is  not  a 
word  in  our  tongue,  so  there  is  not  a  thought  in  our 
heart,  though  newly  risen  and  started  there,  though 
industriously  suppressed  and  stifled  there,  but  he 
knows  it  altogether.*  He  is  that  essential,  eternal 
Word  of  God,  who  is  a  discemer  of  the  thoughts 
and  intents  of  the  heart,  and  before  whom  all  things 
are  naked  and  open.**    Let  all  the  churches  take 


•  Ps.  cxxxlz.  4. 


b  Heb.  iv.  12, 13. 


notice  of  this.  That  our  Lord  Jesus  not  only  knows 
our  work,  but  is  he  who  searches  the  reins  and 
hearts.*^ 

And  yet,  though  Christ  knew  what  his  disciples 
had  been  talking  of,  he  asked  them  what  it  was, 
because  he  would  know  it  from  them,  and  would 
have  them  to  confess  their  fault  and  folly  in  it ;  that 
from  thence  he  might  take  occasion  to  rectify  their 
mistakes,  and  to  instruct  and  reason  them  into  a 
better  temper. 

Think  not  that  my  design  from  this  text  is  to 
arraign,  examine,  or  inquire  into  any  disputes  or 
contests  that  may  be  among  you,  of  any  kind ;  for 
as  (blessed  be  God)  I  know  of  no  particular  occasion 
fbr  it,  nor  have  any  thing  else  in  my  eye,  in  the 
choice  of  this  subject,  but  what  is  common  to  ali  ;  so 
if  there  were,  I  should  think  myself  the  unfittest 
man  in  the  world  to  be  a  judge  or  a  divider.  And 
besides,  if  I  should  thus  go  about  to  take  my  Mas- 
ter's work  out  of  his  hands,  I  should  contradict  that 
which  is  my  design — ^in  putting  this  question  to  you. 
What  was  it  that  you  disputed  among  yourseltfes  by  the 
way  ? — and  that  is,  to  show  you  that  our  blessed  Liord 
Jesus  does  and  will  inquire  into  these  matters,  and 
bind  you  over  to  his  judgment. 

Four  things  this  text  teaches  us,  who  are  all  in 
profession  disciples  of  Christ,  as  we  are  baptized 
Christians. 

I.  That  we  must  all  expect  to  be  called  to  an  ac> 
count  by  our  Lord  Jesus. 

II.  That  we  must,  in  a  particular  manner,  be  called 
to  an  account  about  our  discourses  among  ourselves. 

III.  That,  among  our  discourses,  we  shall  especi- 
ally be  called  to  an  account  about  our  disputes. 

IV.  That,  of  all  our  disputes,  we  shall  be  most 
strictly  reckoned  with  for  our  disputes  about  pre- 
cedency and  superiority. 

I.  We  must  all  expect  to  be  called  to  an  account 

e  Rev.  ii.  19, 23. 


DISPUTES  REVIEWED. 


776 


shortly,  by  oar  Lord  Jesas,  concerning  the  temper 
of  oar  minds,  and  the  coarse  and  tenor  of  oar  lives, 
now  we  are  in  ike  way. 

1.  We  are  all  now  in  the  way,  following  Christ, 
35  his  disciples  here,  in  contort.  We  are  viator et 
^tracellers^  under  the  conduct  of  our  great  Master, 
towards  the  better  country.  And  here  we  are  upon 
trial ;  it  is  the  state  of  our  probation ;  and  according 
as  oar  steps  are,  while  we  are  in  the  way,  our  rest 
will  be  when  we  are  at  our  journey's  end.  It  con- 
cerns us  therefore,  what  we  have  to  do,  to  do  it 
while  we  are  yet  in  the  way  ;^  and  whatever  we  do 
while  we  are  in  the  way,  to  do  it  jrith  an  eye  to  our 
end. 

2.  There  will  be  a  review  of  what  passes  in  tfie 
mi/f  it  will  all  be  called  over  again ;  every  work 
and  every  word  will  be  brought  into  judgment,  will 
be  weighed  in  a  just  and  unerring  balance,  will  be 
produced  in  eyidence  for  us  or  against  us.  There 
nill  not  need  any  repetition,  every  thing  is  now  re- 
corded in  the  book  of  God's  omniscience ;  and  it  is 
enough  that,  in  that  day,  the  books  will  be  opened, 
and  all  will  be  judged  out  of  those  things  which  were 
found  written  in  the  hooks,  according  to  their  works,' 
It  concerns  as  therefore,  whatever  we  do  in  the  wag, 
to  do  it  as  those  who  must  give  account,  and  to  con- 
nder  bow  it  will  pass  in  the  account ;  how  it  will 
look  in  the  review ;  that  we  may  dread  doing  that 
which  will  make  against  us  then,  and  may  abound 
in  that  which  will  he  fruit  abounding  to  our  account,' 
and  which  we  shall  meet  again  with  comfort,  on  the 
other  side  death  and  the  grave. 

3.  The  account  in  the  great  day  must  be  given  ap 
to  oar  Lord  Jesus,  for  we  call  him  Master  and  Lord^ 
as  these  disciples  did ;  and  to  him  therefore  we  are 
accountable,  an  scholars  and  servants,  how  we  spend 
our  time.  He  is  our  Judge,  for  he  is  our  Law-giver  ;>> 
and  to  him  the  Father  has  committed  all  judgment,' 
particularly  that  in  which  he  will  judge  the  world 
in  righteousness  by  that  man  whom  ho  has  ordain- 
ed.^ Christ  shall  have  the  honour  of  it,  and  let  all 
^ood  Christians  take  the  comfort  of  it,  that  he  who  is 
an  advocate  for  all  believers  will  be  their  judge :  bat 
withal,  let  it  oblige  us  to  the  utmost  care  and  cir- 
cnmspection  in  our  walking:  we  must  therefore 
labour  to  be  accepted  of  the  Lord,  and  approve  our- 
selves to  him  in  our  integrity,  because  we  shall  all 
appear  before  the  judgment-seat  of  Christ,'  to  give 
account  of  every  thing  done  in  the  body.  God  made 
the  world,  by  his  Son ;  and  by  him,  as  the  fittest 
person,  he  will  judge  the  world. 

Now  this  is  a  good  reason, 

(1.)  Why  we  should  judge  ourselves,  and  prove 
OQr  own  work,  and  see  that  our  matters  be  right  and 
good  against  that  day.  Let  us  examine  ourselves 
concerning  our  spiritual  state,  that  we  may  make 

*  Mail.  ▼.25.       •  Eccl.  xii.  H.     f  Rev.  xx.  12.     %  Phil.  iv.  17. 
blaa-zixiji.  22.  i  John  v.  23.  k  Acts  xvii.  31. 


sure  work  for  our  own  souls ;  and  often  call  our- 
selves to  an  account  concerning  the  way  we  are  in, 
and  the  steps  we  take  in  that  way,  that  we  may  re- 
new our  repentance  for  whatever  we  find  to  have 
been  amiss,  and  make  our  peace  with  God  in  Christ 
And  if  we  would  thus  judge  ourselves,  we  should  not 
be  judged  *"  of  the  Lord.  When  we  come  to  our  jour- 
ney's end,  it  will  be  asked,  how  we  carried  ourselves 
in  the  wag.  Let  us  tlierefore  carry  ourselves  accord- 
it>8>'y>  ^^^  ponder  tlie  path  of  our  feet. 

(2.)  It  is  a  good  reason  why  we  should  not  judge 
one  another,  or  be  severe  in  our  censures  one  of 
another :  we  thereby  invade  Christ's  throne,  for  it  is 
his  prerogative  to  call  his  disciples  to  an  account ; 
and  though  he  designed  them  to  be  one  another's 
helpers,  he  never  intended  they  should  be  one  an- 
other's judges.  We  must  all  stand  before  the  jtidg- 
ment-seat  of  Christ,  and  therefore  must  not  judge 
one  another.  We  must  be  judged  ourselves  ;  and 
may  expect  to  be  judged  with  severity,  if  we  be 
severe  in  judging  our  brethren,  for  the  measure  wc 
mete  will  be  measured  to  us.°  Our  brethren  like- 
wise must  be  judged  by  the  Lord  Jesus,  and,  there- 
fore, if  we  pretend  to  judge  them,  they  are  coram 
non  jvdice^before  a  judge  without  authority.  Who 
are  we  that  we  should  judge  another  man's  servant? 
to  his  own  master  he  stands  or  falls, °  and  to  his  judg- 
ment it  is  fit  we  should  leave  him. 

IL  Among  other  things  that  pass  in  the  wag,  we 
must  expect  to  be  called  to  account  for  what  we 
have  talked  among  ourselves.  We  are  apt  to  make 
a  light  matter  of  this ;  and  when  we  have  talked  at 
random,  what  comes  uppermost,  without  regard  to 
God  or  man,  we  think  to  turn  it  off  with  an  excuse 
that  it  was  but  talk,  and  words  are  but  mnd:  but  we 
wretchedly  mistake,  and  put  a  cheat  upon  ourselves, 
if  that  be  true  which  our  Saviour  has  told  us,  and 
undoubtedly  true  it  is,  that  not  only  for  every  pro- 
fane and  wicked  word,  for  every  false  and  spiteful 
word,  butybr  every  idle  word  that  men  speak,  they 
must  give  account  in  the  day  of  judgment ;  nay,  and 
so  shall  their  doom  be,  for  by  thy  words  thou  shalt 
be  justified,  and  by  thy  words  thou  shalt  be  con- 
demned.p'  Christ  takes  notice  of  what  we  say,  now; 
and  we  should  think  we  hear  him  say  to  us  when 
we  are  in  conversation,  as  he  did  to  the  two  disci- 
ples going  to  Emmaus,  What  manner  of  communica- 
tions are  these  t/iat  ye  have  one  to  another,  as  ye  walk 
and  are  sad,^  or,  as  ye  sit  and  are  merry  ?  Are  they 
such  as  become  Christians?  Are  you  not  saying  that 
which  must  be  unsaid  again  by  repentance,  or  you 
will  be  undone?  And  as  Christ  takes  notice  of  it 
now,  so  he  will  call  it  over  again  in  the  day  of  ac- 
count. 

What  we  talk  among  ourselves  with  the  usual 
freedom  of  conversation  we  do  not  expect  to  bear 


1  2  Cor.  V.  9,  la 
o  Rom.  xiv.  4. 


m  I  Cor.  xi.  31. 
P  Matt.  xii.  36,  37. 


n  Matt.  vii.  1, 2. 
q  Luke  xxiv.  17. 


776 


DISPUTES  REVIEWED. 


of  again;  it  is  inter  not — between  ourselves,  and 
therefore  we  think  we  may  allow  oarselves  a  li- 
berty. What  is  said  under  the  seal  of  conversa- 
tion, we  think  almost  as  safe  in  point  of  honour, 
as  what  is  said  under  the  seal  of  confession ;  none 
but  a  tale-bearer,  that  great  mischief-maker,  will 
reveal  such  secrets ;'  but  though  it  be  talked  among 
ourselves,  it  cannot  escape  either  the  cognizance 
or  the  judgment  of  our  Lord  Jesus. 

1.  If  we  talk  any  thing  which  is  good  among  our- 
selves, and  which  is  to  the  use  of  edifying ;'  which 
manifests  grace  in  the  speaker,  and  ministers  grace 
to  the  hearers  ;  Christ  takes  notice  of  that,  and  we 
shall  hear  of  it  again  to  our  comfort,  in  that  day 
when  those  who  thus  confess  Christ  before  men' 
shall  be  owned  by  him  before  his  Father,  and 
the  holy  angels.  When  they  who  feared  the  Lord 
spake  often  one  to  another,  for  their  mutual  encou- 
ragement to  hold  fast  their  integrity  in  a  time  of  ge- 
neral apostasy.  The  Lord  hearkened  and  heard  it,  as 
one  greatly  well  pleased  with  it,  and  a  book  of  remem- 
brance was  written  before  him,  in  which  were  entered 
all  those  pious  conferences  of  them  that  feared  the 
Lord,  and  thought  upon  his  name ;"  and  the  day  will 
come  when  this  book,  among  the  rest,  shall  be  opened. 

There  is  not  a  good  word  coming  from  a  good 
heart,  and  directed  to  a  good  end,  but  it  is  heard  in 
secret,  and  shall  be  rewarded  openly,  though,  per- 
haps, there  are  those  now  who  ridicule  and  banter 
such  language.  What  is  spoken  for  the  edification 
of  others,  will  turn  to  a  good  account  to  ourselves : 
and  it  will  add  to  our  joy  in  heaven,  to  have  been 
any  way  instrumental  to  help  others  thither.  Nay, 
if  it  should  not  reach  their  heart<i  for  whom  it  is  de- 
signed, yet  the  comfort  of  it  will  return  into  our  own 
bosoms ;  and  what  was  well  intended  for  the  honour  of 
Christ,  shall  not  be  overlooked  in  the  day  of  account. 

This  should  engage  and  encourage  us  to  keep  up 
religious  discourse,  that  it  will  be  remembered  to 
our  advantage  in  the  accounts  shortly,  though  we 
may  forget  it ;  as  the  righteous  could- not  say  that 
ever  they  saw  Christ  hungry,  and  fed  him,  or  thirsty, 
and  gave  him  drink ;''  yet  Christ  will  not  forget  it, 
but  will  place  it  to  account,  as  an  acceptable  service 
done  to  him. 

2.  If  we  talk  any  thing  that  is  ill  among  our- 
selves ;  if  any  corrupt  communication  proceeds  out 
of  our  mouths,  dictated  by  the  corruption  of  our 
minds,  and  which  has  a  tendency  to  corrupt  the 
minds  and  manners  of  others ;  Christ  observes  that 
too,  is  displeased  with  it, — and  we  shall  hear  of  it 
again,  either  by  the  checks  of  our  own  consciences, 
in  order  to  our  repentance,  or  in  the  day  of  the  reve- 
lation of  the  righteous  judgment  of  God,  when,  ac- 
cording to  Enoch's  prophecy,  the  Lord  shall  come*  to 
reckon  with  sinners,  not  only  for  all  their  ungodly 

r  Prov.  xi.  13.      ■  Eph  iv.  29.       t  Matt.  x.  32.      n  Mai.  ill.  16. 
*  Matt.  XXV.  37.      w  Jude  15.      >  Pi.  1. 20.      j  Exod.  xiii.  28. 


deeds,  but  for  all  their  hard  speeches,  spoken  against 
him.  It  will  be  asked  sooner  or  later.  What  was  it 
that  you  said  such  a  time,  proudly,  vainly,  filthily, 
that  foolish  talking  and  jesting  which  is  not  becom- 
ing ?  What  was  it  that  you  said  in  such  and  such 
company  by  way  of  reproach  to  your  neigbboar, 
when  you  sat  deliberately,  sat  magisterially,  and 
spoke  against  your  brother,  and  slandered  those.* 
whose  good  names  yon  ought  to  have  protected  ?  or, 
which  aggravates  it,  by  way  of  reflection  on  your 
superiors ;  reviling  the  gods,  and  speaking  evil  of 
the  rulers  of  your  people,^  little  thinking  that  a  bird 
of  the  air  may  carry  the  voice  ?  *  Let  this  consider- 
ation oblige  us  all  to  take  heed  to  our  ways,  that 
we  offend  not  with  our  tongue,  and  to  keep  our  mouth 
as  it  were  vrith  a  bridle,*  that  we  may  say  nothing 
but  what  we  can  bear  to  be  told  of  again.  And  we 
have  need  to  beg  of  God,  that  by  his  grace  he  would 
set  a  watch  before  the  door  of  our  lips,^  a  double 
watch  upon  the  door  of  our  hearts,  out  of  the  abun- 
dance of  which  the  mouth  speaks,  that  nothing  may 
proceed  from  them  to  his  dishonour. 

III.  As  our  other  discourses  among  ourselves  by  the 
way,  so  especially  our  disputes,  will  all  be  called 
over  again,  and  we  shall  be  called  to  an  account 
about  them.  What  was  it  thai  ye  disputed  amonp 
yourselves  ?  What  was  the  subject  of  the  dispute  ? 
and  how  was  it  managed?  Disputing  supposes 
some  variance  and  strife,  and  a  mutual  contradic- 
tion and  opposition  arising  from  it.  Disputing  by 
the  way  is  falling  out  by  the  way,  a  thing  directly 
contrary  to  the  charge  which  Joseph,  as  a  tjrpe  of 
Christ,  gave  to  his  brethren,  See  that  ye  fall  not  out 
by  the  way ;'  and  therefore  we  may  expect  to  be  re- 
proved for  it. 

There  are  disputes  that  are  of  use  among  the  disci- 
ples of  Christ,  and  which  in  the  review  we  may  re- 
flect upon  with  comfort  Did  we  dispute — For  the 
conviction  of  atheists  and  deists,  and  other  the  ene- 
mies of  our  holy  religion ;  or  for  the  confirmation  of 
those  who  were  in  danger  of  being  drawn  away  by 
their  delusions  ?  Did  we  contend  earnestly  for  the 
faith  once  delivered  to  the  saints,*^  and  with  meek- 
ness and  fear  both  instract  others  that  oppose  them- 
selves,* and  give  a  reason  of  our  own  hope  that  is  in 
usV  Did  we,  fairly  and  calmly,  discuss  lesser  mat- 
ters in  difference  between  us  and  our  brethren,  that 
we  might  find  out  the  truth,  and  have  our  mistakes 
rectified ;  or,  if  we  cannot,  hereby,  come  to  be  of  the 
same  mind,  yet  we  may  see  that  even  those  we  differ 
from  have  so  much  colour  of  reason  on  their  side,  as 
that  they  may  still  differ  from  us,  and  yet  not  forfeit 
their  reputation  either  for  wisdom  or  honesty  ?  I>id 
we,  with  prudence  and  mildness,  debate  our  cause 
with  our  neighbour  himself,  and  not  go  forth  hastily 
to  strive ;'  did  we  tell  him  his  fault  between  us  and 

«  EccL  X.  ao.      ».?>.  xxxix.  1.      b  Pb.  cxii.  3.     c  Gen.  xlv.  34. 
d  Jude  3.      •  2  Tim.  M.9S.     fl  Pet.  iii.  \5.     g  Prov.  xxv.  8.  9. 


DISPUTES  REVIEWED. 


777 


bim  alone,**  before  we  told  it  to  the  world  or  the 
chordi,  in  order  to  a  friendly  accommodation? 
Thes<  are  disputes  which  will  pass  well  in  the  ac- 
coant  when  Uiey  come  to  he  called  over  again. 

Bat  oar  disputes  are  too  often  such,  that  when  we 
come  'x>  be  asked  about  them,  as  the  disciples  were 
IifTe,  ire  shall,  like  them,  hold  our  peace,  as  being 
asbamcd  to  have  them  spoken  of  again,  and  haying 
nothing  to  say  in  our  own  vindication :  and  (as  the 
town-clerk  of  Ephesus  apprehended)  when  we  are 
called  in  question  for  the  uproar,  can  show  no  justi- 
fiable caase,  whereby  we  may  give  an  account  of  it* 

Three  things  may  occasion  disputes  among  Chris- 
tians, among  ministers,  neighbours,  friends,  rela- 
tions, which,  perhaps,  when  they  come  to  be  reflected 
upon,  as  here,  will  be  found  to  have  a  great  deal  in 
them  that  was  culpable :  different  opinions,  separate 
interests,  and  clashing  humours. 

1.  Disputes  commonly  arise  from  difference  of 
9pinion,  either  in  religion  and  divine  things ;  (about 
which  oftentimes  the  disputes  and  contests  arc  most 
tiolent;)  or  in  philosophy,  politics,  or  other  parts  of 
learning ;  or  in  the  conduct  of  human  life.  While 
men  differ  so  much  in  capacity,  temper,  genius,  and 
edacation,  and  different  sentiments  are  received  by 
tradition  from  our  fathers,  it  cannot  be  expected 
that  men  should  all  agree  in  the  same  notions.  The 
same  thing  seen  with  different  eyes,  and  by  different 
lights,  may  appear  to  one  true  and  very  good,  and  to 
toother  false  and  very  bad,  though  both  employ 
their  faculties  about  it  with  equaJ  diligence  and 
sincerity.  This  cannot  but  give  rise  to  disputes,  for 
ve  are  naturally  forward  (and  sometimes  over-for- 
Tard)  to  clear  ourselves,  and  convince  others ;  and 
have  such  a  conceit  of  our  own  judgment,  as  to 
think  that  every  body  ought  to  be  of  one  mind,  and 
that  if  they  will  be  ruled  by  reason,  they  will  be  so: 
for  Tain  man  would  be  wise,  would  be  thought  to  be 
so,  though  he  be  born  as  the  wild  ass's  colt.^ 

Bot  these  disputes  are  often  such  as  we  may 
jutJy  be  ashamed  of,  when  we  come  to  look  back 
Qpoo  them. 

(1.)  Upon  account  of  the  matter  of  them.  What 
vas  it  that  we  disputed  among  ourselves  ?  What  was 
it  we  were  so  bot  and  eager  about? 

Perhaps  it  was  something  above  us,  about  the 
mtare  and  attributes,  the  counsels  and  decrees,  of 
Ood ;  and  the  operations  of  his  providence  and 
pace ;  and  the  person  of  the  Mediator :  those  secret 
things  which  belong  not  to  us :  *  things  which  we 
^  not  understand,  nor  could :  things  which  it  was 
presumption  for  us  to  dispute  about ;  for  the  angels 
vith  an  awful  reverence  humbly  desire  to  look  into 
them,*B  as  not  pretending  to  be  masters  of  them.  And 
the  p-eat  apostle,  who  had  been  in  the  third  heavens, 
Dot  only  owned  that  the  words  he  heard  there  were 


ii  Matt,  xfiii.  15. 
1  Detil.  xxix.  29. 


I  Acts  xix.  40. 
B  1  Pet  i.  19. 


k  Jobzi.  IS. 
n  2  Cor.  xli.  4. 


unspeakable,*^  but  was  so  much  at  a  loss  to  express 
himself  concerning  the  work  of  redemption,  though 
it  is  in  some  measure  revealed,  that  despairing  to 
find  the  bottom,  he  sits  down  at  the  brink,  and  adores 
the  depth  of  that  mystery :  O  the  depth  of  the  wisdom 
and  knowledge  of  God  1^0  what  reason  have  we  with 
Job  to  abhor  ourselves,  and  to  repent  in  dust  and 
ashes,  because,  like  him,  in  our  disputes  with  our 
friendSjP  concerning  the  reasons  and  methods  of 
God's  proceedings,  we  have  darkened  counsel  by 
words  without  knowledge;  and  have  uttered  that 
which  we  understood  not,  things  too  wonderful 
for  us. 

Perhaps  it  was  something  below  %u,  not  worth  dis- 
puting about,  especially,  with  so  much  warmth  and 
violence :  it  was  a  trifle,  a  mere  strife  of  words,<i  a 
dispute  de  lana  eaprina — about  a  thing  of  no  value  ; 
as  if  the  matter  were  started  only  for  want  of  some- 
thing to  wrangle  about ;  so  inconsiderable  a  thing, 
that  which  way  soever  it  goes,  the  costs  are  much 
more  than  the  damage.  In  the  reflection,  we  may 
justly  blush  to  think  that  we  should  make  so  much 
ado,  so  great  a  noise,  about  nothing. 

Perhaps  it  was  something  foreign  to  us,  that  we 
were  no  way  concerned  in ;  some  matter  of  politics 
it  may  be,  which  belongs  not  to  those  of  our  rank  and 
station,  but  must  be  left  to  wiser  heads,  whose  busi- 
ness it  is  to  deal  in  things  of  that  nature.  Our  Lord 
Jesus  after  his  resurrection  twice  checked  his  dis- 
ciples for  a  vain  curiosity :— once  in  inquiring  con- 
cerning one  another's  affairs;  when* Peter  asked 
concerning  John,  What  shall  this  man  do  ?  Christ  an- 
swered him,  What  is  that  to  thee?  Follow  thou  me ?' 
— and  another  time  in  inquiring  concerning  God's 
counsels.  It  is  not  for  you  to  know  the  times  or  the 
seasons,* 

Perhaps  it  was  something  indifferent;  like  the 
controversy  among  the  primitive  Christians  concern- 
ing the  observing  of  days,  and  making  a  distinction 
of  meats,'  which  the  apostle  himself  does  not  think 
fit  to  determine,  but  leaves  each  side  to  practise  ac- 
cording as  their  judgment  was,  without  imposing 
upon  either,  since  they  might  be  of  either  mind,  and 
yet  be  accepted  of  God ;  only  he  forbids  them  to  fall 
out  about  it,  or  to  despise  or  judge  one  another. 

(2.)  Upon  account  of  our  management  of  them. 
When  our  disputes  among  ourselves  by  the  way 
come  to  be  reviewed,  it  will  be  found  that  the  mis- 
chief was  done  not  by  the  things  themselves,  con- 
cerning which  we  differed,  but  by  our  misma]#ge- 
ment  of  the  controversy. 

Our  Master  will  be  displeased  with  us  if  it  be 
found  that  we  have  been  hot  and  fierce  in  our  dis- 
putes, and  have  mingled  our  passions  and  peevish 
resentments  with  them ;  if  a  point  of  honour  has 
governed  us  more  than  a  point  of  conscience,  and 

o  Rom.  xi.  33.  p  Job  xlii.  3, 6.  q  1  Tim.  vi.  4. 

r  John  xxi.  22.  •  Acta  i.  7.  t  Rom.  xiv.  2,  kc 


778 


DISPUTES  REVIEWED. 


we  have  contended  more  for  victory  and  repatation, 
than  for  tmth  and  daty ;  if  we  have  contended  about 
things  of  small  moment  for,  or  against,  them,  and 
have  neglected  the  weightier  matters  of  the  law  and 
gospel ;  if  we  have  spent  more  of  oar  zeal  on  matters 
in  difference  than  they  deserve  ;  and  have  lost  the 
vitals  of  religion,  in  our  heat  abont  circamstantials, 
and  have  disputed  away  oar  seriousness  and  devo> 
tion,  What  then  shall  we  do  when  God  riseth  up  ?  and 
when  he  visiteth,  what  shail  we  answer  him  ?** 

If  in  our  disputes  for  the  truth,  we  lie  against  the 
truth,  and  speah  deceitfully  for  God,  the  good  inten- 
tion will  be  so  far  from  justifying  the  lie,  that  the 
lie  will  condemn  the  good  intention,  and  convict  it 
of  hypocrisy ;  for  if  the  intention  were  really  good, 
such  a  practice  would  be  abhorred.  If  we  have  the 
itch  of  disputing,  and  a  spirit  of  contradiction,  that 
is  certainly  one  of  those  foolish  hurtful  lusts,  from 
whence  come  wars  and  fightings.  If  we  receive  our 
brethren  who  are  weak  to  doubtful  disputations;*  and 
love  to  perplex  and  puzzle  them,  and  run  them 
aground  with  objections  against  what  they  and  we 
believe ;  it  shows  a  great  contempt  both  of  the  truth 
and  of  their  souls,  and  is  a  jesting  with  both.  If  we 
judge,  and  censure,  and  condemn  our  brethren  who 
are  not  in  every  thing  of  our  mind,  and  though  we 
call  ourselves  disciples,  set  up  for  masters,  many 
masters;''  if  we  give  reproachful  language,  and  call 
foul  names,  which  commonly  betrays  the  weakness 
of  the  caose,  and  is  ingloriously  pressed  into  the  ser- 
vice to  mak^  up  the  deficiency  of  argument ;  we 
shall  have  a  gpreat  deal  to  answer  for,  when  all  our 
disputes  shall  be  called  over  again  by  our  Master. 

2.  Many  disputes  arise  from  separate  and  intei'- 
fering  interests  in  this  world.  Neighbours  and  rela- 
tions quarrel  about  their  rights  and  properties,  their 
estates  and  trades,  their  honours  and  powers  and 
pleasures ;  Meum  and  Tuum — My  rent  and  Thy 
bond,  are  the  great  subjects  of  dispute,  and  engage 
people  in  endless  strifes.  The  first  dispute  we 
read  of  in  the  primitive  church  was  about  a  money- 
matter  ;  the  Grecians  quarrelled  with  the  Hebrews 
because  they  thought  their  widows  were  neglected  in 
the  daily  ministration^  Many  disputes  of  this  kind 
happen,  which  will  be  inquired  into  as  well  as  those 
about  differences  in  opinion ;  and  therefore  it  con- 
cerns us  to  reflect  upon  them,  that  whatever  we  find 
to  have  been  amiss  in  them  may  be  repented  of. 

We  may,  in  godly  sorrow,  quarrel  with  ourselves, 
an^gustly,  for  our  unjust,  unbecoming  quarrels  with 
our  brethren : 

Ask  then,— What  was  it  that  you  disputed  about 
with  such  a  neighbour,  or  such  a  friend,  at  such  a 
time  1  Perhaps  you  disputed  that  which  yon  ought 
to  have  yielded  withdut  dispute,  a  just  debt  or  a 
rightful  possession,  which  you  thou^t  to  have  car- 


B  Job  xzu.  14. 


Y  Rom.  xiv.  1. 


w  James  iii.  1. 


ried,  by  dint  of  opposition,  against  equity.  Perhaps 
you  disputed  about  something  very  trivial,  and  of 
small  value,  which  was  not  worth  controvertiiig,  but 
which  if  the  right  were  indeed  of  your  side,  you  might 
have  receded  from  it  for  peace*  sake,  without  any 
detriment  to  yourselves  or  families.  Perhaps  the  dis* 
pute  might  have  been  prevented,  or  when  it  was  be* 
gan,  might  quickly  and  easily  have  been  accommo- 
dated, with  a  little  wisdom  and  love ;  as  the  strife 
between  Abraham  and  Lot  was  soon  ended,  and  the 
matter  compromised  by  Abraham's  prudent  conde- 
scension.y  A  little  yielding  would  pacify  great 
offences,  and  put  an  effectual  stop  to  that  threaten- 
ing mischief  which  sometimes  a  little  fire  kindles. 

Review  your  law-suits.  And  it  may  be  you  will 
find,  that  how  stiff  soever  you  were  in  the  heat  of  the 
prosecution  of  them,  your  cooler  thoughts  tell  jou 
they  were  not  managed  as  become  Christians  ;  you 
did  not  try  to  end  things,  as  you  ought  to  have  done, 
in  an  amicable  way.  Perhaps  they  were  be|^u 
rashly,  and  in  passion ;  and  then  no  wonder  if  tbcy 
be  carried  on  unfairly,  and  that  which  was  a  hasty, 
sudden  passion  in  the  beginning  of  the  quarrel,  is  in 
danger  of  ripening  into  a  rooted  malice  before  the 
end  of  it,  and  they  who  at  first  pretended  that  they 
designed  only  to  right  themselves,  at  length,  as  their 
resentments  have  grown  more  and  more  keen,  are  not 
ashamed  to  own  that  they  are  resolved  to  avenge 
themselves. 

These  disputes,  as  they  are  most  common,  so  they 
are  most  scandalous,  among  relations,  and  those 
who  are  under  particular  obligations  to  love  one 
another.  And  whatever  keeps  brethren  from  dwell- 
ing together  in  unity,  is  very  provoking  to  Christ, 
who  has  made  brotherly  love  the  livery  of  his  family : 
and  it  is  very  hardly  removed :  for  a  brother  offended 
is  harder  to  be  won  than  a  strong  city,  and  their  con^ 
tentions  are  as  the  door  of  a  castle  >**  witness  Jacob 
and  Esau. 

3.  Some  disputes,  and  hot  ones  too,  arise  merely 
from  passion  and  clashing  humours,wheTe  really  there 
is  nothing  of  judgment  or  interest  in  the  case. 
Some  indulge  themselves  in  a  crossness  of  temper, 
that  makes  them  continually  uneasy  to  their  rela- 
tions, the  nearest,  the  dearest,  and  to  all  about 
them.  They  love  to  thwart  and  disagree,  and  to  dis- 
pute every  thing,  though  ever  so  plain,  or  ever  so 
trifling.  Many  make  their  lives,  and  the  relations 
wherein  they  stand,  uncomfortable  by  this  ;  especi- 
ally when  both  sides  are  of  such  a  spirit :  one  will 
have  their  humour,  their  saying,  and  the  other  will 
have  theirs,  and  so  they  are  ever  and  anon  disput- 
ing which  shall  be  greatest,  and  instead  of  aiming 
to  please,  are  contriving  to  displease  and  contradict 
one  another. 

But  do  such  consider,  that  they  must  give  an  ac- 


s  AcU  vi.  1. 


J  Gen.  xfi).  8. 9. 


»  Pror.  xviii.  19. 


DISPUTES  REVIEWED. 


779 


couDt  to  Christ  for  all  these  disputes  among  them- 
itket  by  ike  way  ;  that  they  will  all  be  called  over 
again?  How  ill  does  it  become  the  disciples  and 
followers  of  the  hamble  Jesos  to  carry  things  with  a 
bigh  hand,  imperiously  and  with  rigour,  toward 
tbeir  inferior  relations ;  not  suffering  them  to  speak 
for  themselves,  nor  willing  to  hear  reason  from  them. 
How  ill  does  it  become  the  worshippers  of  the  God 
of  love  to  be  envious,  and  spiteful,  and  ill-natured, 
and  quarrelsome  with  all  they  have  any  dealings 
with !  The  father  of  the  prodigal,  when  his  elder 
son  was  out  of  humour,  angry,  and  would  not  come 
in,  did  not  dispute  with  him,  chide  him,  and  threaten 
bim,  though  he  very  well  deserved  it ;  but  he  went 
out  and  entreated  him,*  spoke  to  him  smoothly,  and 
50  brought  him  into  good  temper  again :  which  is 
written  for  our  learning^  that  we  may  go  and  do 
likewise,  but  writhal  for  our  $hame  that  we  have  not 
done  so.  By  the  account  which  the  Scripture  gives 
of  some  peevish  passionate  disputes,  it  appears  that 
notice  is  taken  of  the  height  to  which  the  ferment  of 
the  spirit  rises  at  such  a  time.  When  the  men  of 
Epbraim  quarrelled  with  Gideon  upon  a  point  of 
honour,  it  is  left  upon  record,  that  they  did  chide 
rithkim  ikarply^h  though  by  his  exemplary  mildness, 
as  well  as  by  his  eminent  services,  lie  deserved  better 
at  tbeir  hands.  When,  in  a  like  case,  Judah  and 
Israel  fell  out,  it  is  observed,  that  the  wards  of  the 
Mm  of  Judah  werejlercer  than  the  words  of  the  men 
f*f  Israeli  And  if  it  be  so  indeed,  that  an  account 
u  kept  of  the  sharpness  of  our  chiding,  and  the 
fierceness  of  oar  words,  we  are  concerned  by  true 
repentance  to  judge  ourselves  for  it,  that  we  may 
not  be  judged  of  the  Lord. 

And  whatever  we  find  has  been  amiss  in  our  dis- 
putes of  any  kind,  let  it  be  amended  for  the  future. 

(1.)  As  far  as  we  are  able  to  make  a  judgment, 
let  us  see  to  it  that  we  have  truth  and  right  on  our 
side,  in  all  our  disputes,  and  not  be  confident  any 
farther  than  we  see  j  ust  cause  to  be  so.  We  must  not 
only  never  contend  for  that  which  we  know  to  be  false 
and  wrong,  but  also  never  for  that  which  is  doubtful, 
or  which  we  do  not  know  to  be  true  and  right.  Let 
OS  not  wrong  our  consciences  in  any  of  our  contests ; 
Qor  say  we  believe  that  to  be  true,  and  therefore 
dispute  for  it,  which  really  we  do  not  believe  to  be 
$0;  nor  demand  that  as  our  own,  which  we  know  or 
baTe  reason  to  suspect  we  have  no  g^od  title  to ;  nor 
deny  that  to  another  which  we  cannot  but  think  is 
justly  bis. 

And  if,  in  the  progress  of  any  dispute  or  contro- 
Tersy,  it  be  made  to  appear  to  us,  at  length,  that  we 
were  mistaken,  and  in  the  wrong,  we  must  be  ready 
to  acknowledge  it,  thankful  to  those  who  have  dis- 
covered it  to  us,  and  not  ashamed  to  let  fall  the  con- 
troversy.   And  we  have  a  false  notion  of  honour,  if 


» Luke  XV.  38. 


b  Judg.  viii.  9.  e  3  Sam.  xix.  43. 


we  think  this  will  be  any  reai  disparagement  to  us  ; 
for  certainly  St  Paul  showed  more  true  courage, 
and  merited  more  true  praise,  when  he  said,  /  can 
do  nothing  against  the  truth,^  than  Goliah  did,  when 
he  defied  all  the  armies  of  Israel. 

(2.)  In  matters  of  doubtful  disputation  :  while  we 
are  contending  for  that  which  we  take  to  be  right, 
let  us  at  the  same  time  think  it  possible  that  we  may 
be  in  the  wrong.  When  we  contend  for  the  great 
principles  of  religion,  in  which  all  good  Christians 
are  agreed,  we  need  not  fear  our  being  in  a  mistake ; 
they  are  of  undoubted  certainty.  We  know  and  are 
sure  that  Jesus  is  the  Christ,  But  there  are  many 
things  that  are  not  so  clearly  revealed,  because  not 
of  so  much  moment,  in  which  the  truth  indeed  lies 
but  on  one  side,  and  yet  wise  and  good  men  are  not 
agreed  on  which  side  it  lies.  Here,  though  we  both 
argue  and  act  according  to  the  light  that  God  has 
given  us,  yet  we  must  not  be  over-confident  of  our 
own  judgment,  as  if  wisdom  must  die  vri th  us. 
Others  have  understanding  as  well  as  we,  and  are 
not  inferior  to  us  ;*  nay,  perhaps,  they  every  way 
excel  us,  and,  therefore,  who  can  tell  but  they  may 
be  in  the  right  ?  However,  they  argue  and  act  ac- 
cording to  the  light  they  have,  which  we  ought  to 
pay  a  deference  to,  so  as  not  to  condemn  all  those 
for  weak  men,  or  bad  men,  who  are  not  in  every 
thing  of  our  mind,  and  will  not  say  as  we  say.  Job 
in  dispute  is  not  unwilling  to  put  the  case.  Be  it 
thai  I  kave  erred  J 

In  matters  of  fact  on  which  right  depends,  it  is 
possible  we  may  be  mistaken  ;  Humanum  est  errare 
— to  err  is  kuman.  Words  may  be  misunderstood 
and  misapprehended ;  and  the  wisest,  and  most 
cautious  and  observing,  may  be  guilty  of  an  over- 
sight, and  may  forget  something  that  would  very 
much  alter  the  case ;  and,  therefore,  it  will  be  no 
credit  to  our  wisdom  and  goodness  to  be  too  positive, 
too  peremptory,  as  long  as  there  is  a  possibility  of 
our  being  deceived.  Never  let  our  assertions  go  be- 
yond our  assurances,  nor  let  us  give  that  as  certain 
and  great,  which  was  given  us  doubtful  and  little ; 
but  be  very  wary  in  what  we  maintain,  not  only  for 
our  reputation's  sake,  lest  our  neighbour  search  us 
and  put  us  to  shame,  but  for  conscience'  sake,  toward 
God,  who  hates  a  proud  look,  and  a  lying  tongue  ;v 
two  very  bad  things,  that  commonly  go  together,  to 
support  one  another. 

(3.)  Let  us  keep  the  full  possession  and  govern- 
ment of  our  own  spirits,  in  all  our  disputes.  Let  us 
carefully  suppress  all  inward  tumults,  whatever  pro- 
vocation may  be  (pven  us;  and  let  our  minds  be 
calm  and  sedate,  whatever  argument  we  are  engaged 
in.  Let  no  contradiction  put  us  into  a  heat  or  dis- 
order ;  for  when  passion  is  up,  we  are  not  so  capable 
as  we  ought  to  be,  either  to  hear  reason  or  to  speak 

d  2  Cor.  xili.  &     e  Job  xil.  a.       #  Job  xix.  4.       %  Prov.  vi.  17. 


780 


DISPUTES  REVIEWED. 


it,  nor  is  it  likely  we  shoald  either  convince  or  be 
convinced  of  truth  and  right.  Meekness  and  mild- 
ness of  spirit  do  as  mach  befriend  a  cause,  as  they 
are  the  beauty  and  ornament  of  its  advocates. 

If  we  contend  for  that  which  is  wrong,  the  jnore 
passionate  we  are,  the  greater  is  the  sin  of  the  con- 
tention, and  the  more  there  is  of  the  image  of  the 
devil  upon  it,  who  is  not  only  the  father  of  lies 
and  falsehoods,  but  a  red  dragon,  and  a  roaring  lion. 
But  if  we  have  truth  and  right  on  our  side,  that 
needs  no  intemperate  heats  and  passions  for  the  sup- 
port of  it,  nor  can  have  any  real  service  done  it  by 
them.  The  cause  of  heaven  can  never  be  pleaded 
with  any  credit  or  success  by  a  tongue  set  on  fire  of 
hell.  The  wrath  of  man  tDorks  not  the  righteousness 
of  God.^  Parties  may  be  served  by  fury  and  vio- 
lence, but  the  common  interests  of  pure  Christianity 
will  certainly  be  prejudiced  by  it.  Christ  was  there- 
fore fit  to  teach  us,  and  we  are  invited  to  come  and 
learn  of  him,  it  is  not  said,  because  in  him  were 
hid  all  the  treasures  of  wisdom  and  knowledge,  though 
that  is  certainly  true,  but  because  he  is  meek  and  lowly 
in  heart,^  and  can  have  compassion  on  the  ignorant ; 
and  herein  all  who  undertake  to  instruct  others 
must  study  to  imitate  him.  And  this  is  the  likeliest 
way  to  gain  our  point,  if  indeed  we  be  in  the  right ; 
for  the  words  of  the  wise  are  heard  in  quiet,  more  than 
the  cry  of  him  that  rules  among  fools}" 

(4.)  Let  us  never  lose  the  charity  we  ought  to  have 
for  our  brethren  in  our  disputes  of  any  kind,  nor  vio- 
late the  sacred  laws  of  it.  Our  Lord  Jesus  foresaw, 
and  foretold,  that  the  preaching  of  his  gospel  would 
occasion  much  division,  that  it  would  set  men  at 
variance,^  and  be  the  subject  of  much  dispute  ;  and 
therefore  he  thought  it  very  requisite  to  bind  the 
command  of  mutual  love  so  much  the  more  strongly 
upon  his  followers,  because  there  was  danger  lest  it 
should  be  lost  in  these  disputes :  he  makes  it  one 
of  the  fundamental  laws  of  his  kingdom,  the  new 
commandment.  That  we  love  one  another;  and  the 
livery  of  his  family,  by  which  all  men  might  know 
who  are  his  disciples.  See  how  these  Christians  love 
one  another. 

Let  us,  therefore,  in  all  our  disputes  keep  ourselves 
under  the  commanding  power  and  influence  of  holy 
love ;  for  that  victory  is  dearly  purchased,  that  is 
obtained  at  the  expense  of  Christian  charity.  Let  us 
honour  all  men,  and  not  trample  upon  any,  nor  set 
those  among  the  dogs  of  our  flock,  whom,  for  ought 
we  know,  Christ  has  set  with  the  lambs  of  his.  Let 
us  never  bring  a  railing  accusation  against  any  :*" 
Michael  the  archangel,  though  he  was  sure  in  the 
dispute  he  had  right  on  hi^  side,  and  the  glory  of 
God  was  nearly  concerned,  and  it  was  with  the  devil 
that  he  contended,  yet  he  would  not  thus  attack  his 
adversary.    The  scourge  of  the  tongue  has  driven 


h  James  i.  90. 
1  Luke  zii.  51. 


1  Matt.  xi.  29. 
m  Jude  9. 


k  Bccl.  iz.  17. 
n  I  Cor.  i.  90. 


more  out  of  the  temple  than  ever  it  drove  into  it. 
Let  us  always  put  the  best  construction  on  men's 
words  and  actions  that  they  will  bear,  not  digging 
up  mischief,  as  evil  men  do,  nor  rejoicing  in  iniquity, 
but  rejoicing  in  the  truth,  hoping  the  best  as  far  as 
we  can.  Let  us  not  aggravate  matters  in  variance, 
nor  by  strained  inuendos  and  misrepresentations 
make  either  side  worse  than  it  is ;  for  that  is  a  me- 
thod which  may  harden  one  side,  but  can  never 
convince  the  other,  nor  can  be  used  with  any  other 
design  but  to  make  the  contending  parties  hate  one 
another ;  and  whose  kingdom  that  serves  the  inter- 
ests of  it,  it  is  easy  to  say, — not  Christ's,  I  am  sure. 
Let  us  not  judge  of  men's  spiritual  and  eternal  state, 
and  send  men  to  hell  presently  as  reprobates,  be- 
cause they  are  not  in  every  thing  of  our  mind,  or 
cannot  fall  in  with  our  measures.  They  who  do  &o 
usurp  a  divine  prerogative,  take  the  keys  of  hell  and 
death  out  of  the  hands  of  Christ,  and  show  them- 
selves to  be  as  destitute  of  the  fear  of  God,  as  they 
are  of  love  to  their  neighbour. 

(5.)  Let  us  often  think  of  the  account  we  must 
shortly  give  to  our  great  Master  of  all  our  disputes 
with  our  fellow-servants  by  the  way.  Let  us  con- 
sider how  our  disputes  will  look  in  that  day,  and 
what  our  own  reflections  will  be  then  upon  them. 
When  the  apostle  asks.  Where  is  the  disputer  of  this 
world  ?^  ''  Perhaps  (says  the  excellent  Archbishop 
Tillotson)  he  intends  to  insinuate,  that  the  wrangling 
work  of  disputation  hath  place  only  in  this  world, 
and  upon  this  earth,  where  only  there  is  a  dust  to  be 
raised ;  but  will  have  no  place  in  the  other,  where 
all  things  will  be  clear,  and  past  dispute :  and  a 
good  man  would  be  loth  to  be  taken  out  of  the  world 
reeking  hot  from  a  sharp  contention  with  a  perverse 
adversary,  and  not  a  little  out  of  countenance  to  find 
himself  in  this  temper  translated  into  the  calm  and 
peaceable  regions  of  the  blessed,  where  nothing  but 
perfect  charity  and  good-will  reign  for  ever.'' 

Let  our  moderation  therefore  be  known  unto  allmen^^ 
moderation  in  all  disputes,  because  our  Lord  is 
at  hand ;  nor  let  us  grudge  one  against  another,  be- 
cause the  Judge  standeth  before  the  door:^  and  we 
may  tremble  to  think  what  our  doom  will  be,  if  we 
be  found  smiting  our  feUow-servants  *^  and  how  we 
shall  answer  it,  if  it  be  proved  upon  us,  who  have 
had  so  much  forgiven  us  by  our  Master,  that,  for  a 
small  matter,  we  have  taken  them  by  the  throat  J  But 
seeing  we  look  for  a  day  of  account,  in  which  there 
will  be  a  review  of  disputes,  let  us  give  diligence, 
that  we  may  be  found  of  Christ  in  peace."  When 
Job  and  his  friends  had  maintained  a  long  dispute, 
in  which  many  hasty  peevish  words  were  exchanged, 
God  at  length  interposed  as  moderator,  and  gave 
judgment  upon  the  debate,  That  they  were  all  to  be 
blamed,  and  had  taken  a  great  deal  of  pains  (as  most 


o  Phil.  iv.  &         p  James  v.  9. 
r  Matt.  ZTiii.  28. 


q  Matt  KMT.  49. 

•  3  Pet  iii.  14. 


DISPUTES  REVIEWED. 


781 


dispntants  do)  to  make  work  for  repentance  ;  and, 
therefore,  the  cM>Dtending  parties  must  ask  pardon 
of  God  and  one  another,  mast  forgave  and  forget, 
and  live  in  Ioto  for  the  future.  And  this  is  the  hest 
end  of  controTersies ;  happy  were  it  if  they  were  all 
brought  to  this  issue  now :  to  this  issue  all  the  con- 
troTersies  that  are  among  good  men  will  he  brought 
at  last,  when  they  shall  meet  in  the  world  of  everlast^ 
ingr  light  and  love. 

IV.  Of  all  disputes,  Christ  will  he  sure  to  reckon 
with  his  disciples  for  their  disputes  about  precedency 
and  superiority.  That  was  the  dispute  here.  Who 
thoM  he  greateii  ;  and  Christ  does  not  determine 
the  matter,  as  it  might  justly  be  expected  he  should 
ha?e  done,  if  he  had  intended  that  Peter,  or  any  other 
of  them,  should  have  a  primacy  and  supremacy 
above  the  rest ;  no,  he  is  displeased  with  them  for 
startiDg  such  a  question,  and  disputing  about  it,  be- 
cause it  was  an  indication  that  they  all  aimed  at 
being  great  in  the  world,  and  were  ambitions  of  it ; 
and  wheneTer  preferments  were  to  be  had,  they 
would  quarrel  among  themselves,  which  should  get 
tbe  best;  notwithstanding  the  meanness  of  their 
first  education,  when  they  were  bred  fishermen, 
which  might  have  done  nmething  to  curb  aspiring 
thoughts ;  and  the  goodness  of  their  late  education, 
when  they  were  trained  up  to  be  apostles,  which 
might  hare  done  tnMch  more. 

Now  there  are  live  reasons  why  this  disposition  of 
theirs  was  very  displeasing  to  our  Lord  Jesus. 

1.  Because  it  came  from  a  mistaken  notion  of  hit 
kiuydom^  which  they  had  learned  at  the  feet  of  their 
scribes,  and  had  not  yet  unlearned,  though  they  had 
tat  so  long  at  Cb  rist's  feet,  so  hard  is  it  to  conquer 
the  power  of  prej  udice.  The  Jews,  misunderstand- 
ing many  of  the  prophecies  of  the  Old  Testament, 
which  spake  of  the  Messiah  and  his  kingdom ;  ex- 
pected him  to  appear  in  external  pomp  and  splen- 
dour, and  to  exercise  a  temporal  jurisdiction,  to 
break  the  Roman  yoke  from  off  their  necks,  and  give 
tbem  dominion  over  the  neighbouring  nations.  The 
disciples  had  imbibed  this  notion  from  infancy,  and 
imagined  (as  should  seem  by  many  instances)  that 
oar  Lord  Jesus,  though  he  appeared  meanly  at  first, 
would  soon  by  it  thus  reign ;  and  that  this  was  the 
kingdom  of  heaven,  which  they  were  to  preach  as  at 
band :  and  this  they  had  an  eye  to,  when  they  strove 
who  should  be  the  greatest 

Now  this  was  a  great  mistake,  and  the  constant 
teoor  and  tendency  of  Christ's  life  and  doctrine 
might  have  con  winced  them  that  it  was  so,  that  Christ's 
kingdom  was  not  to  he  of  this  world,'  but  was  in- 
tended to  be  all  spiritual ;  the  laws  and  powers  of 
it,  the  rewards  and  punishments  of  it,  all  spiritual ; 
:tbe  weapons  of  our  warfare  are  not  carnal ;)  that  the 
Messiah  was  to  rale  by  his  Spirit  in  the  spirits  of 


t  John  xviii.  36. 


«  Uatt  zfi.  S4. 


T  Luke  uli.  S7. 


men.  The  design  of  it  was  to  refine  men  from  the 
dross  and  dregs  of  worldliness  and  sensuality  ;  and 
to  raise  them  up  to  a  holy,  heavenly,  spiritual,  divine 
life ;  and  to  teach  them  to  look  down  upon  all  earthly 
things  with  a  gracious  and  generous  contempt.  Such 
as  this  was  the  constitution  and  complexion  of  Christ's 
kingdom,  and  therefore,  it  could  not  but  be  displeas- 
ing to  him,  for  them  to  dote  on  earthly  greatness. 

2.  Because  it  was  directly  contrary  to  the  two 
great  lessons  of  his  school,  and  laws  of  his  kingdom, 
humility,  and  love.  It  is  against  the  law  of  humility 
to  covet  to  be  g^eat  in  this  world,  and  against  the 
law  of  love  to  strive  who  shall  be  greatest.  Had  not 
Christ  taught  them  both  these  lessons,  both  by  pre- 
cept and  by  example  ?  Had  he  not  made  it  the  first 
condition  of  discipleship,  that  whosoever  would 
come  after  him  must  deny  themselves  ?  Does  not  the 
gn^eat  law  of  love  oblige  us  in  honour  to  prefer  one 
another,'  and  to  give  place  to  our  brethren  ?  What 
unapt  scholars  then  were  they,  who  had  not  learned 
such  plain  and  needful  lessons  as  these !  How  well 
is  it  for  us  that  we  have  a  kind  Master,  who  does  not 
expel  out  of  his  school  dull  scholars,  but  gives  them 
his  Spirit  to  open  their  understandings,  and  bring 
things  to  their  remembrance. 

When  we  are  eager  in  our  pursuits  of  the  world, 
and  seek  and  aim  at  g^at  things  in  it ;  when  we  are 
quarrelsome  with  our  brethren,  and  carried  out  into 
indecencies  by  our  contests  and  passions;  let  us 
think  how  unbecoming  Christians  this  is,  how  con- 
trary we  walk  to  the  laws  of  that  holy  religion  we 
make  profession  of.  And  can  we  glory  in  the  ho- 
nour of  it?  Can  we,  wltH  any  confidence,  plead  the 
promises  of  it,  or  please  ourselves  with  the  privi- 
leges of  it,  or  feed  ourselves  with  the  hopes  of  it, 
when  we  have  so  little  regard  to  the  precepts  of 
it?  Will  those  be  willing  to  lose  their  lives  for 
their  religion,  who  cannot  deny  themselves  the  gra- 
tification of  a  foolish  lust  or  passion  for  it  ? 

3.  Because  it  was  utterly  repugnant  to  the  exam- 
ple which  Jesus  Christ  himself  had  set  them,  and 
the  copy  he  had  given  them  to  write  after.  The  word 
of  command  which  he  gave  them  when  he  called 
them  to  be  his  disciples,  was.  Follow  me ;  do  as  you 
see  me  do.  But  when  they  were  disputing  who 
should  be  greatest,  and  each  setting  up  a  title  to 
worldly  pomp  and  power,  they  were  far  from  re- 
sembling him,  who  was  among  them  as  one  that 
served,*  and  came  not  to  be  ministered  unto,  but  to 
minister.^  The  same  mind  should  have  been  in 
them,  that  was  in  him ;  who  was  so  great  an  exam- 
ple of  humility  and  love,  condescension  and  affec- 
tion ;  who  emptied  himself,  and  made  himself  of  no 
reputation ;'  who,  not  only  in  the  general  scheme  of 
his  undertaking,  but  in  the  particular  passages  of 
his  life,  gave  such  instances  of  self-denial,  as  justly 


w  Matt  XX.  98. 


PhiLii.  7. 


782 


DISPUTES  REVIEWED. 


are  the  wonder  of  angels  ;  who,  to  teach  them  this 
lesson,  and  oblige  them  to  learn  it  with  this  yery 
argument,  not  long  after  this  washed  their  feet,  and 
bid  them  do  as  be  had  done/  Coald  the  followers 
of  such  a  Master  contend  for  precedency,  and  not 
blush  at  the  reflection  upon  their  own  folly  and  un- 
wortfainess? 

Let  us  shame  ourselves  out  of  our  pride,  and 
passion,  and  affectation  of  worldly  honour,  and  in- 
ordinate pursuit  of  worldly  wealth,  with  this  consi- 
deration :  Shall  I  set  my  heart  upon  that  which  my 
Master  was  dead  to,  and  denied  himself  in,  and  foi 
my  sake  too  ?  Am  I  not  a  Christian,  a  follower  of 
Christ?  I  must  then  either  change  my  name,  or 
recover  a  better  temper.  Ought  I  not  to  walk  in  the 
same  spirit,  in  the  same  steps  ? 

4.  Because  it  would  render  them  very  unfit  for  the 
services  which  he  had  appointed  them  to.  It  was 
very  absurd  for  them  to  strive  who  should  be  greatest, 
who  should  live  most  at  ease,  and  most  in  state,  who 
should  have  the  most  power  and  the  largest  com- 
mand, when  they  were  all  to  labour  and  suffer  re- 
proach," to  live  in  meanness  and  poverty,  to  be 
loaded  with  disgrace  and  ignominy,  and  counted  as  the 
off-scGuring  of  all  things ;  nay,  to  be  hilled  all  the  day 
long,  and  devoted  to  death,  as  sheep  to  the  slaughter, 
and  ruled  with  rigour.  Such  dispositions  and  ex- 
pectations as  these  would  be  but  a  bad  preparative 
for  sufferings.  They  who  would  approve  themselves 
good  soldiers  of  Jesus  Christ  must  endure  hardness,* 
and  not  affect  greatness. 

And,  therefore,  though  this  infirmity,  and  the  mis- 
take it  was  grounded  upon,  seems  by  many  instances 
after  this,  to  have  continued  as  long  as  they  had 
Christ's  bodily  presence  with  them  ;  yet,  before  they 
launched  out  into  the  deep  of  their  service,  they  were 
perfectly  cured  of  it,  by  the  pouring  out  of  the  Spirit 
upon  tliem ;  after  which,  we  have  them  no  more 
dreaming  of  a  temporal  kingdom,  nor  striving  who 
should  be  greatest;  for  those  whom  God  designs  to 
employ  in  any  service  for  him,  he  will  either  find 
them  fit  or  make  them  so :  and  as  the  day,  so  shall  the 
strength,  so  shall  the  spirit,  be.  And  if  we  would  be 
ready  for  all  the  will  of  God,  and  stand  complete  in 
it,  so  as  not  to  be  driven  from  our  work  by  the  diffi- 
culties we  may  meet  in  it,  we  must  be  dead  to  world  • 
ly  wealth  and  grandeur,  and  live  above  them,  at 
those  who  look  beyond  them. 

5.  Because  it  was  a  corrupt  temper  that  would  be, 
more  than  any  thing,  the  bane  of  the  church  in  after- 
times  ;  would  be  the  reproach  of  its  ministry,  an  ob- 
struction to  its  enlargement,  the  disturbance  of  its 
peace,  and  the  original  of  all  the  breaches  that  would 
be  made  upon  its  order  and  unity.  Our  Saviour 
foresaw  this,  and,  therefore,  took  all  occasions  to 
check  and  repress  it  in  his  disciples,  for  a  warning  to 


J  John  xijl  4—15. 


■  1  Tim.  iv.  10. 


•  2  Tim.  ii.  3. 


all  others ;  that  all  who  are  called  by  his  name,  and 
profess  relation  to  him,  may  be  jealous  over  them- 
selves with  a  godly  jealousy,  and  may  look  diligently, 
lest  this  root  of  bitterness  spring  up  and  trouble  both 
themselves  and  others,  and  thereby  many  be  defiled^ 
and  disturbed. 

When  we  see  how  early  in  the  primitive  times  the 
mystery  of  iniquity  began  to  work  in  strifes  amon^ 
ministers,  who  should  be  the  greatest;  in  Diotrephes, 
who  loved  to  have  the  pre-eminence  ;^  and  in  the 
man  of  sin,  who,  by  deg^es,  under  the  influence  of 
this  principle,  came  to  usurp  an  universal  aathority » 
and  to  exalt  himself  above  all  that  is  called  God,  or 
that  is  worshipped  ;<>  let  us  acknowledge  with  what 
good  reason  Christ  so  often  cautioned  his  disciples 
against  this,  and  lament  the  mischief  that  is  done  by 
it  to  the  church.  It  must  needs  be  that  such  offences 
would  come  ;  and  we  are  told  of  them  before,  that 
we  may  not  be  stumbled  at  them ;  but  woe  to  those 
by  whom  they  do  come.  The  pre  valency  of  such  a 
temper  as  this,  as  far  as  it  appears,  is  very  threaten- 
ing. But  when  the  Spirit  shall  be  poured  ont  upon 
us  from  on  high,  there  shall  be  no  more  such  dis- 
putes as  these ;  and  then  the  wilderness  shall  becoine 
a  fruitful  field.* 

Upon  the  whole  matter,  therefore,  let  our  strife  be. 
Who  shall  be  best,  not  who  shall  be  greatest. 

1.  Let  us  never  strive  who  shall  be  greatest  in  this 
world;  who  shall  have  the  best  preferment;  who 
shall  be  master  of  the  best  estate,  or  make  the  best 
figure ;  but  acquiesce  in  the  lot  Providence  carves 
out  to  us,  not  aiming  at  great  things,  or  striving  for 
them. 

Consider  what  worldly  greatness  is : 

(1.)  What  a  despicable  thing  it  is  to  those  who 
have  their  eye  upon  another  world*  All  who  by  faith 
have  seen  the  glory  of  God  in  the  face  of  Jesus 
Christ,  who  are  acquainted  with  the  grandeur  of  the 
upper  and  better  world,  and  are  conversant  with  that 
world,  have  laid  up  their  treasure  in  it,  and  set  their 
hearts  upon  it,  and  hope  shortly  to  share  in  the  en- 
joyments of  it ;  what  a  poor  thing  are  the  pomps  and 
pleasures  of  this  world  to  them !  how  easily  can  they 
write  Vanity  upon  them !  for  they  know  better  things. 
What  are  purple,  and  scarlet,  and  fine  linen,  and 
faring  sumptuously  every  day,  to  one  who  is  clothed 
with  the  robes  of  righteousness  and  garments  of  sal- 
vation, and  has  a  continual  feast  upon  the  promises 
of  tlie  new  covenant  ?  What  are  titles  of  honour,  or 
splendid  attendance,  to  one  who  is  called  a  friend 
of  God,  and  about  whom  the  holy  angels  encanap ! 
What  are  the  fading,  withering  glories  of  time,  in 
comparison  vrith  the  far  mofe  exceeding  and  eternal 
weight  of  glory  that  is  to  be  revealed  ?  Let  as  be 
ashamed  then  to  strive,  or  seem  to  strive,  for  that 
which,  if  we  act  as  becomes  our  character,   we 

I     b  Heb.  xii.'l5.    c  3  John  9.     a  2  Theas.  ii.  4.    •  In.  znii.  is. 


DISPUTES  REVIEWED. 


783 


cannot  bat  look  upon  with  a  holy  contempt  and  in- 
difference. 

(2.)  What  a  dangerous  thing  this  worldly  great- 
ness is  to  those  who  have  tiot  their  eyes  upon  another 
fcorld;  how  apt  it  is  to  keep  their  hearts  at  a  dis- 
tance from  God,  and  from  the  consideration  and 
pursait  of  a  future  blessedness ;  and  to  fix  them  to 
this  world,  and  make  them  willing  to  take  up  with 
a  portion  in  it :  and,  especially,  what  a  strong  temp- 
tation it  is  to  break  through  all  the  sacred  fences  of 
the  divine  law  to  compass  it.  The  devil  would  not 
have  tempted  Christ  to  worship  him,  with  a  promise 
of  all  the  king^domfl  of  the  world,  and  the  glory  of 
them,  but  that  he  had  caught  many  a  one  with  that 
hait.  As  they  who  will  be  rich,  so  they  who  will  be 
i;reat,  and  cannot  think  themselves  happy  unless 
they  be,  fall  into  temptation,  and  a  snare,  and  into 
many  foolish  and  hurtful  lusts  -/  let  us,  therefore, 
never  court  oar  own  trouble ;  nor  coyet  to  enter  into 
temptation,  as  they  do,  who,  when  they  are  as  great 
as  God  saw  fit  to  make  them,  are  still  aiming  to  be 
greater,  and  striving  to  be  greatest. 

2.  Let  all  our  strife  be  who  shall  be  hest^  not  ois- 
patjng  who  has  been  best,  that  is  a  vain-glorious 
strife,  but  humbly  contending  who  shall  be  so ;  who 
shall  be  mosthamble,  and  stoop  lowest,  for  the  good 
of  others ;  and  who  shall  labour  most  for  the  com- 
mon welfare.  This  is  a  gracious  strife ;  a  strife  that 
will  pass  well  in  oar  account,  when  all  our  disputes 
will  be  reviewed.  If  we  will  covet,  let  us  covet 
earnestly  the  best  gift5,f  covet  to  be  rich  in  faith,  and 


f  1  Tim.  rf .  9. 
b  s  Cor.  V.  9. 


ff  1  Cor.  zii.  31. 
I  Heb.  X.  34. 


rich  in  good  works.  If  we  will  be  ambitions,  let  it 
be  the  top  of  our  ambition  to  do  good,  and  therein  to 
be  accepted  of  the  Lord.**  If  we  will  aim  to  excel, 
let  it  be  in  that  which  is  virtuous  and  praise-worthy, 
and  in  a  holy  zeal  for  the  honour  of  God,  and 
the  advancement  of  the  true  interests  of  Christ's 
kingdom.  Herein  let  us  strive  to  excel  others,  and 
to  do  more  good  than  they  do ;  not  that  we  may 
have  the  praise  of  it,  but  that  God  may  have  the 
gloiy  of  it,  and  that  we  may  provoke  others  to  love 
and  to  good  works;*  not  that  we  may  be  many 
masters,  but  that  we  may  make  ourselves  servants 
of  all.  Let  us  go  before — in  zeal,  and  yet  be  will- 
ing to  come  behind — in  humility  and  self-denial ; 
do  better  than  others,  and  yet,  in  love  and  lowliness 
of  mind,  esteem  others  better  than  ourselves.*^ 

But  especially  let  us  strive  to  excel  ourselves,  and 
to  do  more  good  than  we  have  done.  Let  it  be  a 
constant  dispute  with  our  own  souls.  Why  we  do  not 
lay  out  ourselves  more  for  God.  And  when  we  re- 
member the  kindness  of  our  youth,  and  the  love  of 
our  espousals,  instead  of  leaving  that  first  love, 
and  cooling  in  it,  let  our  advanced  years  contend 
earnestly  to  excel  our  early  ones,  that  our  last  days 
may  be  our  best  days,  and  our  last  works  our  best 
works.  Forgetting  the  things  that  are  behind,  let  us 
still  press  forward  toward  perfection ;  press  forward 
toward  the  marh,for  the  prize  of  the  high  calling,^  that 
at  length  we  may  have  not  only  an  entrance,  but  an 
abundant  entrance,  ministered  to  us  into  the  everlast- 
ing kingdom  of  our  Lord  and  Savioitr  Jesus  Christ,"* 


kPhiLU.3. 


1  Phil,  ill  13, 14. 
mSPeti.  11 


FAITH  IN  CHRIST  INFERRED  FROM  FAITH  IN  GOD 


IN 


A  SERMON 


PREACHED  AT  THE  TUESDAY  LECTURE,  AT  SALTERS  HALL, 

MAY  29th,  1711. 


John  xW.  1.  latter  part. 
Ye  believe  in  God,  believe  also  in  me. 

A  DOMINION  over  yoar  faith*  is  what  yoar  ministers 
are  far  from  pretending  to;  bat  the  direction  of 
yonr  faith  is  what  they  are  intrusted  with,  that  thus 
they  may  be  helpers  of  your  joy,  for  by  faith  you 
stand.  What  is  Pan!  himself,  or  what  is  Apollos,^ 
those  great  men  ?  not  masters  in  whom  ye  believed, 
but  ministers  only,  by  whom  ye  believed ;  not  oracles, 
but  stewards  of  the  oracles  of  God.  Now  how  can 
we  better  direct  your  faith,  nay,  how  dare  we  other- 
wise direct  it,  than  as  we  have  received  direction 
from  the  Lord  Jesus,  who  is  the  Author  and  Finisher 
of  our  faith,  the  Foundation  and  Fountain  of  it? 
And  in  the  text  we  have  his  law  concerning  it,  the 
rule  of  faith  he  prescribes  to  us.  What  he  said  here 
to  those  who  were  his  immediate  followers,  he  says 
to  all,  Ye  believe  in  God,  believe  also  in  me. 

This  is  here  recommended  in  particular  to  the 
disciples  of  Christ ;  as  a  sovereign  antidote  against 
trouble  of  mind,  proper  to  fortify  the  soul  against 
the  invasions  of  grief  and  fear,  when  they  are  most 
violent  and  threatening,  and  all  other  supports  and 
succours  fail.  Christ  was  now  leaving  those  who 
had  left  all  to  follow  him,  and  he  told  them  that 
whither  he  went  they  could  not  follow  him  yet;* 
which  seemed  to  bear  hard  upon  them,  that  they 
who  had  followed  him  in  his  sorrows,  might  not  fal- 
low him  to  his  joys ;  nay,  must  be  left  behind  as 
sheep  in  the  midst  of  wolves.  Because  of  this,  sor- 
row JUled  their  heart.  And  though  in  Christ's  de- 
parture from  them  there  seems  to  be  enough  to  justify 
their  sorrow,  yet  there  really  is  enough  to  pacify  ; 
and  therefore,  with  good  reason,  as  well  as  with 
good  authority,  he  commands  down  those  boisterous 
winds  and  waves,  saying.  Peace,  be  still.    Let  the 


sinners  in  Zion  be  afraid,  and  let  fearfulness  sar- 
prise  the  hypocrites,  but  let  not  your  hearts  be 
troubled.  Though  trouble  surround  you  on  every 
side,  yet  be  wise,  be  watchful,  and  keep  trooble 
from  your  hearts :  and  that  you  may  do  so,  believe 
in  God,  aud  in  his  providence ;  believe  also  in  me, 
and  in  my  grace.  And  you  will  be  kept  from  faint- 
ing by  believing  ;^  but  if  you  will  not  believe,  surely 
you  shall  not  be  established.* 

But  that  which  is  here  intended  as  a  cordial  in 
time  of  trouble,  will  not  be  so,  unless  it  be  our 
practice,  for  it  is  certainly  our  duty  at  all  times, 
the  duty  of  all  those  who  hear  the  joy£ul  sound  of 
the  everlasting  gospel,  not  only  to  bei^ve  in  God, 
but  to  believe  also  in  Jesus  Christ.  And  therefore 
I  shall  take  it  more  generally,  not  only  as  an  anti- 
dote against  trouble  of  mind,  but  a  caveat  against 
practical  deism. 

1.  Our  Lord  Jesus  does  here  take  it  for  granted 
concerning  his  disciples,  that  they  did  believe  in 
God,  and  that  in  the  belief  of  him  they  paid  him  the 
adorations  due  to  his  name,  and  the  submissions  due 
to  his  government,  and  that  that  faith  was  so  firmly 
fixed  in  them,  that  it  would  not  be  shocked  by  any 
event  of  Providence,  though  ever  so  grieving,  ever 
so  frowning.  You  believe  in  God,  that  is,  you  re- 
ceive and  embrace  natural  religion,  you  admit  the 
light  of  it,  you  submit  to  the  laws  of  it.  You  believe 
the  perfections  of  God,  that  he  is  infinitely  and  eter- 
nally wise  and  holy,  just  and  good ;  you  believe  his 
relations  to  his  creatures,  as  their  Protector  and 
Benefactor,  their  Owner  and  Ruler;  hb  relations  to 
his  own  people,  as  their  Father  and  Felicity ;  you 
believe  his  providence,  that  it  extends  itself  to  all 
the  creatures,  and  all  their  actions,  to  you,  and  all 
your  afi*airs,  with  a  certain  cognizance,  and  a  faith- 
ful steady  conduct  Nay,  you  go  further,  you  not 
only  believe  in  the  Lord  your  God,  but  you  believe 


•  3  Cor.  i.  24. 


b  1  Cor.  ill.  4. 


c  John  xiii.  36. 


4  Pb.  zxvii.  16. 


«  In.  vii.  9. 


FAITH  IN  QHRIST  INFERRED  FROM  FAITH  IN  GOD. 


786 


bis  prophets  /  you  receive  the  Scriptares  of  the  Old 
Testament,  and  subscribe  to  them :  andyoa  do  well. 
Observe  here, 

(1.)  That  our  Lord  Jesus  knows  who  believe  in 
God,  and  who  do  not ;  for  all  hearts  are  open  to  his 
view,  and  he  knows  what  is  in  man.  When  with 
the  moath  confession  is  made  unto  salvation,'  it  is 
to  give  honour  to  him,  not  to  inform  him  what  the 
heart  believes ;  for  he  knows  it  before  we  tell  him, 
and  better  than  we  can  tell  him.  That  which  is  the 
prerogative  of  the  Eternal  Mind,  is  one  of  the  flowers 
of  the  Redeemer's  crown :  I  am  he  which  searcheth 
the  reiju  and  hearts,^  He  knows  the  sincerity  of 
some,  whom  men  suspect  and  reproach «  and  the  in- 
sincerity of  otliers,  whom  men  confide  in  and  ap- 
plaud. We  read  of  some  who  professed  to  believe 
in  JesQS  Christ,  when  they  saw  the  miracles  which 
he  did ;  but  Je^us  did  not  camnnt  himself  to  tluim^  did 
not  Mieve  them,  so  the  word  is,  because  he  hnew  all 
men,  and  needed  not  that  any  should  testify  of  man.* 
He  knew  that  his  disciples  here  did  believe  in  God, 
and  witnessed  for  them  that  they  did  so.  And  be- 
caase  he  does  thus  infallibly  know  every  man's  true 
character,  he  is  therefore  fit  to  be  the  Judge  of  all  at 
the  great  day,  and  to  pass  the  definitive  sentence 
apoD  every  man's  everlasting  state ;  for  we  are  sure 
that  his  judgment  is  according  to  truth,  and  cannot 
mistake. 

(2.)  That  our  Lord  Jesus  is  highly  well  pleased 
with  those  who  believe  in  God,  and  will  take  notice 
of  it  to  their  comfort  and  honour.  He  came  into  the 
world  to  reveal  and  reconcile  God  to  us,  and  to  re- 
dace  and  restore  us  to  God,  not  to  draw  ua from  him, 
but  to  draw  us  to  him ;  and  nothing  is  more  accept- 
able to  him  than  our  believing  in  God,  nor  shall  any 
thing  be  more  comfortable  to  us.  Christ  fortifies  us 
with  this  faith  against  all  assaults :  Let  not  your 
i^rts  he  troubUdj  for  ye  believe  in  God.  And  Uiose 
who  believe  in  God  need  not  be  cast  down  and  dis- 
quieted ;  as  those  have  reason  to  be  who  are  strangers 
to  him,  who  have  no  dependence  on  him,  or  com- 
munion with  him.  They  who  believe  in  God,  ac- 
cording to  his  word,  have  reason  to  rejoice  in  him 
with  joy  unspeakable ;  for  their  confidence  in  him 
shall  not  mahe  them  ashamed.  They  hnowwhom.  they 
^t  believed. 

2.  He  calls  upon  them  who  believe  in  God,  to  be- 
lieve in  him  too.  But  did  not  the  disciples  believe 
also  in  Christ  ?  No  doubt  they  did ;  else  they  had 
not  so  easily  left  all  to  follow  him,  and  continued 
with  him  in  his  temptations.  When  St.  Peter,  in 
the  name  of  the  rest,  gave  this  for  the  reason  why 
they  would  never  quit  their  Master,  We  believe  and 
«re  sure  that  thou  art  the  Christ  f  the  Son  of  the  living 
(iod}  they  all  subscribed  to  it  as  the  confession  of 
their  faith,  except  Judas,  whom  Christ  at  that  very 


f  2  Cbron. ».  90. 
>  John  ii.  S3-SS. 


%  Rom.  X.  10. 
k  John  vl.  ep. 
3  B 


h  Rev.  li.  S3. 
1  1  John  V.  13. 


time  particularly  excepted.  And  yet,  Christ  saith 
to  them,  Believe  also  in  me:  use  the  faith  you  have, 
set  it  on  work,  exert  it,  employ  it,  that  by  it  you  may 
keep  your  minds  composed  and  quiet  at  this  time. 
Believe  in  me,  that  is,  live  by  faith  in  me.  Even 
those  who  believe,  as  they  have  need  to  be  prayed 
for,  that  God  would  help  their  unbelief,  and  increase 
their  faith,  so  they  have  need  to  be  preached  to,  and 
called  upon  to  exercise  their  faith :  These  things  are 
written  to  you  who  believe  in  Christ,  that  you  may  be- 
lieve in  him  ;^  may  be  confirmed  in  your  faith,  and 
have  the  comfort  of  it. 

Believing  in  God  is  a  very  great  duty,  afad  there 
are  few  but  what  profess  at  least  to  do  it  They  who 
have  little  else  to  say  for  themselves,  will  say  this, 
*'  We  trust  in  God  :'*  and  O  that  there  were  such  a 
heart  in  all  them  that  say  so !  But  from  those  who 
believe  in  God,  there  are  two  things  further  required : 
One  is  a  dictate  of  the  light  and  law  of  nature ; 
we  have  it  given  in  charge  by  St  Paul  to  Titus, 
This  is  a  faithful  saying,  (and  these  things  I  will  that 
thou  affirm  constantly  f^  let  it  be  frequently  incul- 
cated, and  earnestly  pressed  upon  all  Christians,) 
That  they  who  have  believed  in  God  must  be  careful  to 
maintain  good  worhs :  for  faith  without  works  is  dead ;» 
it  doth  no  good  to  others,'*  and  therefore  will  do  mi  no 
good. — ^The  other  is  a  dictate  of  revealed  religion, 
and  we  have  it  here  in  the  text, ''  Ye  believe  in  God, 
believe  also  in  me." 

DocT.  It  may  justly  be  expected,  and  re- 
quired, from  those  who  believe  in  God,  that 
if  they  are  within  the  sound  of  the  gospel, 
they  should  believe  also  in  Jesus  Christ 
I  speak  to  those  who  are  favoured  with  the  gospel, 
who  see  that  joyful  light,  who  hear  that  joy  fjul  sound, 
and  who  are  therefore  concerned  in  this  doctrine. 
As  for  those  who  enjoy  it  not,  we  cannot  say  it  is 
required  of  them  to  believe  in  Christ ;  for  how  shall 
they  believe  in  him,  of  whom  they  have  not  heard  ?^  Yet 
we  cannot  say,  it  is  impossible  for  any  of  them, 
though  they  live  up  ever  so  closely  to  the  light  they 
have,  to  be  saved  by  Christ  they  never  heard  of.  It 
is  out  of  our  Utu  to  judge  concerning  them,  for  it  is 
not  tfi  our  Bibles ;  but  let  us  judge  this  rather,  that 
we  who  enjoy  the  gospel  shall  find  it  more  intolerable 
for  us  in  the  day  of  judgment,  than  they  will,  if  we 
obey  not  the  gospel.  As  for  them,  it  becomes  us 
rather  to  leave  them  to  God's  uncovenanted  mercy, 
than  to  his  unpacified  justice.  For  our  own  part, 
whatever  favour  they  may  find  who  are  destitute  of 
the  light  of  Christianity,  I  see  not  how  they  can  ex- 
pect it,  who  rebel  against  that  light,  and  reject  the 
counsel  of  God  against  themselves.*!  The  case  is 
plain, — It  is  good  to  believe  in  God ;  but  that  is  not 
enough,  we  must  believe  also  in  Jesus  Christ.  It  is 
not  sufficient  to  our  acceptance  with  God  that  we 


>  Tit.  til.  8. 
P  Rom.  z.  14. 


B  James  ii  17. 


e  Jamea4i.  14. 
q  Luke  vii.  30. 


786 


FAITH  IN  CHRIST  INFERRED 


embrace  natural  religion,  though  it  is  indispensably 
necessary  that  we  do  so ;  but  we  must  go  further,  we 
must  admit  the  light,  and  submit  to  the  laws,  of  the 
Christian  religion  likewise,  which  is  consonant  to, 
and  perfective  of,  natural  religion,  and  helps  us  out 
where  that  leaves  us  at  a  loss.  And  this  is  that 
which  I  am  here  to-day  to  press  upon  you,  with  all 
seriousness,  that  you  sink  not  into  a  practical  deism, 
as  many  do  into  a  practical  atheism ;  but,  in  every 
thing  wherein  you  have  to  do  with  God,  you  may 
have  a  believing  regard  to  Jesus  Christ  You  believe 
in  God,  believe  also  in  Jesus  Christ. 
I  shall  here  endeavour  to  explain, 

I.  The  objects  of  this  faith,  and  what  that  is  which 
those  who  believe  in  God  are  to  believe  also  con- 
cerning Christ 

II.  The  acts  of  this  faith,  and  what  that  regard 
is  which  we  must  give  to  God,  and  must  give  also 
to  Jesus  Christ. 

III.  The  connexion  between  these  two,  and  how 
necessarily  it  follows,  that  those  who  truly  believe 
in  God  will  readily  believe  in  Jesus  Christ,  when  he 
is  made  known  to  them.  And  then  make  application. 

1.  Let  us  inquire,  what  man  is  to  believe  concern- 
ing God  ;  and  compare  with  that,  what  he  is  also  to 
believe  concerning  Jesus  Christ ;  and  see,  what  re- 
lation they  have  to  each  other. 

1 .  Do  we  believe  in  God,  as  the  Father  Ahnighty  ? 
Wc  must  believe  in  Christ,  as  his  only-beffotten  Son ; 
for  Father  and  Son  correlates.  By  the  prescribed 
form  of  baptism,  that  great  foundation  on  which  the 
doctrine  of  the  Trinity  is  built,  we  are  directed  to 
devote  ourselves  to  the  Father  and  Son;  which 
plainly  speaks  a  divine  relation,  not  to  us,  (for 
though  God  may  be  said  to  be  a  Father  to  us,  and  a 
Holy  Spirit  to  us,  yet  he  can  in  no  sense  be  said  to 
be  a  Son  to  us,)  but  a  relation  to  one  another ;  and 
therefore  they  must  be  distinct  persons ;  and  so,  as 
that  the  Son  is  the  express  image  of  the  Father's 
Person.  We  cannot  believe  in  God  as  the  Father,' 
but  we  must  believe  in  him  who  is. the  Son  of  the 
Fatlier,^  who  is  the  only-begotten  of  the  Father,*^ 
and  therefore  of  the  same  nature  with  him.  If  any 
deny  the  Son,  though  they  say  they  believe  in  God, 
as  the  Creator  of  heaven  and  earth,  yet  really  they 
have  not  the  Father,  they  have  not  the  knowledge  of 
him,  nor  an  interest  in  him,  as  the  Father ;  for  they 
only  who  by  faith  continue  in  the  Son,  so  continue 
in  the  Father.''  Shall  we  think  that  God  has  the 
title  of  the  Father  ascribed  to  him  so  frequently,  so 
solemnly,  only  as  he  is  the  Fountain  of  being  to  the 
creatures  which  are  infinitely  below  him  ?  (So  the 
heathen  called  him  the  Father,  so  he  is  Father  of  the 
rtdn,  and  hath  begotten  the  drops  of  the  dew,"*)  No, 
he  himself  plainly  intimated  why  he  is  called  the 


Father,  when  he  said  to  the  Redeemer,  Thou  art  my 
Son,  this  day  have  I  begotten  thee  ;*  which  mast  be 
understood  in  a  far  higher  sense  than  that  of  crea- 
tion ;  for  when  the  apostle  would  prove  that  Christ 
has  obtained  a  more  excellent  name  than  the  highest 
rank  of  created  beings,  he  thus  argues :  To  which  of 
the  angels  said  he  at  any  time^  Thou  art  my  San,  this 
day  have  I  begotten  thee  ?'  They  were  sons  of  God 
who  shouted  for  joy,  when  thefoundation*  of  the  earth 
were  fastened  ;  he  was  the  Image  of  the  invisible  God, 
that  existed  before  all  things.^  It  is  not,  as  some 
would  have  it,  that  he  viksfiesh,  and  was  made  God. 
only  as  Moses  was  made  a  god  to  Pharaoh ;  for  the 
Scripture  says  quite  the  contrary,  that  Bcoc  lyy — ' 
he  WAS  God,*  and  oofti  tytvtro — was  made  flesh.* 
This  mystery  we  firmly  believe  the  truth  of,  but  aw- 
fully adore  the  depth  of. 

2.  Do  we  believe  in  God  as  the  Eternal  Mind  ? 
We  must  also  believe  in  Christ  as  tA«  Eternal  Word 
and  Wisdom.  God  is  an  Infinite  Spirit,  and  as  such 
is  to  be  adored  by  every  one  of  us ;  and  he  has  told 
us  that  the  Redeemer  we.  are  to  believe  io  is  the 
Logos,  that  in  the  beginning,  was  with  God;  and 
was  God,*'  in  the  constitution  of  all  things.  And  (to 
show  that  he  is  the  Omega  as  well  as  the  Alpfta) 
we  find  that  in  the  consununation  of  all  things,  when 
he  obtains  a  final  victory  over  all  the  enemies  of  his 
kingdom,  he  appears  and  acts  under  the  same  title ; 
his  name  is  called,  the  Word  of  God,^  It  signifies 
both  Ratio  and  Oratio,  a  word  conceived,  and  a  word 
uttered.  Christ  is  both  ;  as  the  thought  is  one  with 
the  mind  that  thinks  it,  and  yet  may  be  considered 
as  distinct  from  it,  so  Christ  was  and  is  one  with  the 
Father,  and  yet  distinct  from  the  Father. 

In  all  the  divine  counsels,  Christ  is  the  Eternal 
Wisdom,  that  when  God  prepared  the  heavens,  and 
/at  J  the  foundations  of  the  earth,  and  made  man  who 
is  the  highest  part  of  the  dust  of  the  world,  was  hy  him 
as  one  brought  up  with  him  :^  he  is  the  Wonderful  Cokii- 
sellor,  in  whom  are  hid  all  the  treasures  of  wisdom 
and  knowledge.  Between  the  Father  and  the  Son 
there  is  a  perfect  mutual  consciousness,  and  parti- 
cularly in  the  affair  of  man's  redemption.  No  man 
knows  the  Son  but  the  Father,  neither  knows  the  Father, 
save  the  Son.*  The  counsel  of  peace  is  between  them 
both.f 

In  all  divine  revelations,  Christ  is  the  Word  of  the 
Father;  that  Word  of  God  which  is  quick  and 
powerful,  and  is  a  discemer  of  the  thoughts  and  in- 
tents of  the  heart'  He  only  having  lain  in  his 
bosom  from  eternity,  none  but  he  could  declare  him  ;*" 
and  though  it  is  in  these  last  days,  that  he  has  in  a 
more  especial  manner  spoken  to  us  by  his  Son,  yet 
the  Spirit,  in  the  Old-Testament  prophets,  was  the 
Spirit  of  Christ^    And  as  he  was  the  Maker  and 


r  Heb.  i.  3. 

•  2  John  3. 

t  John  i.  14. 

•  John  i.  14. 

b  Johnl.  1. 

c  Rev.  xi«.  13. 

u  1  John  ii.  23,  24. 

V  Job  xxxviii.  as. 

w  Ps.  ii.  7. 

d  Prov.  viH.  28, 30. 

«  Bfatt.  zi.  27. 

fZech.  vi.  12. 

KHeb  i.5. 

7  Col.  i.  15,  Ifl. 

t  John  i.  1. 

gHeb.iv.  IZ 

h  John  i.  1& 

il  Pet.  I  II. 

FROM  FAITH  IN  GOD. 


787 


Mediator,  so  he  was  the  Messenger  of  the  Covenant, 
the  Amen,  the  Jaithfui  and  true  Witness, 

3.  Do  we  believe  that  God  nuide  the  world,  and 
gctems  it  ?  We  most  believe  also  that  he  made  it, 
and  goTerns  it,  by  his  Son,  who  is  not  only  the 
KudoM  of  God,  and  his  eternal  word,  bat  the  power 
of  God,  and  his  almighty  right  hand.  The  Father 
Korketh  hitherto  ^  we  believe  he  does,  that  he  is  the 
Foontain  of  all  being,  and  the  Spring  of  all  life, 
power,  motion y  and  perfection :  bat  the  Son  has  told 
08  withal,  that  he  worketh,  and  that  what  things  soever 
the  Father  doihj  these  also  doth  the  Son  lihewise. 

Nothing  appears  more  evident,  by  the  light  of 
natore,  than  that  God  made  the  world,  and  all 
things  therein,  that  by  his  power,  and  for  his  plea- 
sare  and  praise,  they  are  and  were  created :  nor  does 
anj  thing  appear  more  evident,  by  the  light  of  the 
Gospel,  than  that  €rod  ntade  the  worlds  by  his  Son,i 
that  he  created  all  things  bg  Jesus  Christ,'^  that  all 
things  were  treated  hg  him  and  for  him,  and  that  he 
it  htfore  all  things,  and  hg  him  all  things  consist,*^  nay, 
tUt  without  him  was  not  ang  thing  made  that  was 
madeJ"  So  that  if  we  receive  the  gospel,  we  mast 
discern  even  in  the  things  diat  are  seen,  not  only 
the  eternal  power  and  godhead  of  the  Father,  bat 
the  aniversal  agency  and  inflaence  of  the  Son,  and 
particalarly  with  reference  to  the  children  of  men, 
with  whom  his  delights  were;  for  in  him,  in  a 
special  manner,  was  that  life  which  is  the  Hght  of 
Jwii.p  Therefore  be  is  called  the  ^Jtpxfi — The  prin* 
tvpU  (so  it  might  better  be  read  than  The  beginning) 
of  the  creation  of  God.^  And  hence  arises  his 
sovereignty  over  all  the  creatures,  and.  his  property 
in  them.  He  is  the  first-bom  of  everg  creature  f 
ftat  is,  as  the  apostle  himself  explains  it,  he  is  the 
luirtf  all  things  f  and  has  not  only  by  porchase, 
hot  hg  inheritance,  obtained  the  more  excellent  name. 

We  are  satisfied  that  God  governs  the  world,  and 
an  abondant  satisfaction  it  is  to  ns  that  he  does  so, 
that  his  kingdom  rnleA  over  all ;  but  we  mast  also 
he  assured,  and  it  will  add  greatly  to  oar  satisfaction, 
that  the  administration  of  the  kingdom  of  providence 
nput  into  the  bands  of  oar  Lord  Jesas,  and  is  anited 
to  the  mediatorial  kingdom ;  that  he  has  an  incon- 
testable title  to  all,  All  things  are  delivered  to  him  bg 
ihe  Father,*  and  for  this  reason,  because  he  loves 
Aim  ,-*  that  he  has  an  nncontrollable  dominion  over 
all.  Things  are  not  only  given  into  his  hand,  bat 
put  under  his  feet  ;*  not  only  great  pdwer,  but  all 
power,  is  given  onto  him,  both  in  heaven  and  in 
earth ;  and  he  is  not  only  head  of  the  church,  but 
^enf  over  all  things  to  the  church.  Ail  the  angels  in 
heaven  are  his  active  servants,  all  the  devils  in  hell 
are  bis  conquered  captives:  the  kingdoms  of  the 
e^rth  are  his,  and  he  is  the  Governor  among  the 


k  John  v.  17, 19. 
•  John  I.  3w 
'  Col.  i.  I5w 


1  Heb.  i.  9.     m  Eph.  ili.  9.      n  Col.  i.  16, 17. 
9  John  i.  4.  q  Rev.  iii.  14. 

I  Heb.  i.  3, 4.  t  Matt  xi.  37. 

3  B  2 


nations  ;^  Bg  him  hings  reign,  for  to  him  the  Father 
has  committed  not  only  the  future  judgment,  but  all 
judgment.^ 

4.  Do  we  believe  that  God  is  our  owner  by  right 
of  creation?  We  most  believe  also,  that  Christ  is 
our  owner  by  right  of  redemption ;  and  yet  we  have 
not  two  masters  to  serve ;  Christ  and  the  Father  are 
one,  as  to  us.  Nor  do  these  properties  stand  in 
competition  with  each  other:  no,  Christ  owns  his 
property  to  be  derived.  Thine  they  were,  and  thou 
gavest  them  me,^  and  yet  withal  it  is  acquired. 

As  to  God  we  owe  our  being,  because  he  made  us, 
and  not  we  oorselves,  therefore  we  are  not  our  own 
but  his;  so  to  Christ  we  owe  our  well  being,  our 
recovery  from  that  deplorable  state,  unto  which  by 
sin  we  were  fallen,  and  our  restoration  to  the  favour 
of  God,  and  an  eternal  happiness  in  him.  Thus, 
besides  the  original  right  he  has  to  ns  as  our  Maker, 
he  has  an  additional  right  by  purchase ;  a  right  to 
command  ns,  a  right  to  dispose  of  as;  we  are  his 
servants,  for  he  has  loosed  our  bonds ;  not  only  bom 
in  his  house,  but  bought — ^not  with  his  money  indeed, 
but  with  that  which  is  infinitely  more  valuable,  his 
own  most  precious  blood :  and  therefore  we  are  de- 
livered out  of  the'  hands  of  oar  enemies,  that  we 
might  be  devoted  to  him,  to  serve  him  without  fear." 
We  are  not  our  own  but  his,  for  we  are  bought  with  a 
price ;  more  was  paid  for  us  a  gpreat  deal  than  we 
were  worth  ;  and  it  was  paid  to  him  into  whose  hand 
our  all  was  forfeited,  so  Uiat  no  dispute  can  be  made 
of  his  interest  in  us,  and  the  authority  he  has  to  de- 
mand our  best  affections  and  services.  As  one  is  our 
Father,  even  God,  so  one  is  our  Master,  even  Christ: * 
he  is  our  Lord,  and  we  are  bound  to  worship 
him. 

6.  Bo  we  believe  that  God  is  our  Judge,  to  whom 
we  must  evcTy  one  of  us  give  an  account  of  ourselves  ? 
We  must  believe  also,  that  Christ  is  our  Advocate 
with  him,  and  that  he  is  the  propitiation  for  our  sins. 
We  are  all  conscious  to  ourselves  that  we  are  sin- 
ners, that  we  are  guilty  before  God,  have  incurred 
his  wrath,  and  laid  ourselves  open  to  his  curse ;  and 
from  him  our  judgment  must  proceed,  a  judgment 
against  which  there  will  lie  no  exception,  and  from 
which  there  will  lie  no  appeal ;  a  judgment  which 
in  its  inquiries  ydiW  look  back  as  faras  our  beginning, 
for  God  shall  bring  everg  worh  into  judgment,  with 
everg  secret  thing  :^  and  which  in  its  decisions 'wiW 
look  forward  as  far  as  our  everlasting  state,  which 
must  by  it  be  irreversibly  determined. 

Now,  whenever  we  think  of  giving  an  account  to 
Grod,  we  must  have  an  eye  to  the  Lord  Jesus,  as  the 
one  only  Mediator  between  us  and  God,  that  blessed 
Dags-man  who  has  laid  his  hand  upon  us  both ;  who  is 
our  peace,  who  arbitrates  matters  in  variance  be- 


a  John  iii.  35. 
X  John  ▼.  23. 
•  llatt  xzili.  8, 9. 


r  Matt,  xxviii.  is. 
T  John  zvii.  s. 
bPs.  xlv.  11. 


w  Ps.  \x1i.  98. 
1  Luke  i.  74,75. 
c  Eccl.  xii.  4. 


790 


FAITH  IN  CHRIST  INFERRED 


in  him ;  let  us  also  depend  upon  Jesus  Christ,  and 
put  a  confidence  in  him.  We  believe  in  God,  that 
is,  wo  trust  in  him,  we  rely  upon  his  wisdom  to  di- 
rect us,  his  power  to  support  and  strengthen  us,  his 
goodness  to  pity  us,  and  his  all-sufficiency  to  give 
all  that  to  tw,  and  work  all  that  in  «#,  and  for  us, 
which  the  necessity  of  our  case  calls  for.  And  we 
therefore  refer  ourselves  to  him,  and  encourage  our- 
selves in  him ;  now  let  us  thus  believe  also  in  Jesus 
Christ,  and  make  him  our  hope.  As  we  confide  in 
the  providence  of  God  for  all  things  that  relate  to 
the  natural  life ;  and  cheerfully  submit  ourselves  to 
the  conduct  of  that  providence,  hoping  by  it  to  be 
carried  comfortably  through  this  world  ;  so  we  con- 
fide in  the  grace  of  the  Lord  Jesus  for  all  things  re- 
lating to  the  spiritual  life,  and  cheerfully  submit 
ourselves  to  the  operations  of  that  grace,  hoping  by 
it  to  be  carried  safely  to  a  better  world ;  desiring  not 
more  to  secure  our  present  and  future  welfare,  than 
to  have  the  grace  of  the  Lord  Jetui  Christ  with  our 
Spirits*  Our  dependence  must  be  upon  Christ  both 
for  righteousness  and  strength,p  the  two  great  things 
we  stand  in  need  of;  from  a  full  conviction  of  our 
own  guilt  and  weakness,  and  of  his  ability  and  will- 
ingness to  save  us  from  sin  and  wrath,  we  must  ven- 
ture all  our  spiritual  concerns  with  him.  In  every 
thing  wherein  we  have  to  do  with  God,  we  must  make 
mention  of  his  righteousness,  and  make  use  of  his 
grace, — and,  of  both,  as  all-sufficient  for  us ;  must 
depend  upon  him  to  bring  us  safe  through  this  wil- 
derness to  the  heavenly  Canaan  ;  and  having  done 
this,  as  those  who  know  whom  we  have  trusted,  we 
must  bo  willing  to  venture  all  our  temporal  concerns 
for  him,  to  leave,  and  lose,  and  lay  out  all  for  his 
sake,  being  well  assured,  that  though  we  may  be 
losers  for  him,  we  shall  not,  we  cannot,  be  losers  by 
him  in  the  end. 

III.  I  come  in  the  next  place  to  show  the  neces- 
sary connexion  that  there  is  between  these  two  great 
duties,  of  believing  in  God,  and  believing  also  in 
Jesus  Christ;  and  how  the  latter  will  follow  of 
course,  if  the  former  be  sincere,  in  all  those  to  whom 
the  glad  tidings  of  the  gospel-salvation  are  brought 
They  must  needs  embrace  the  Christian  religion,  who 
cordially  entertain  natural  religion  ;  and  they  who 
do  not  believe  in  Christ,  whatever  they  pretend,  do 
not  indeed  believe  in  God  :  for, 

1.  If  we  believe  in  God,  we  must  believe  in  him 
who  is  One  with  him,  the  Brightness  of  his  glory, 
and  the  express  Image  of  his  Person,*^  Christ  in  his 
gospel  has  expressly  told  us,  /  and  my  Father  are 
one  J  And  when  he  says.  My  Father  is  greater  than 
I,*  the  comparison  is  not  between  the  person  of  the 
Father  and  of  the  Son,  but  between  the  Son's  state 
of  exaltation  with  the  Father  and  his  present 
stite  of  humiliation ;  as  plainly  appears,  because 

p  Gal.  VI.  18.      p  Isa.  xlv.  24.       q  Heb.  i.  3.       r  John  x.  30. 
•  John  xiv.  28.  t  John  xvii.  21.  n  John  xlv.  9. 


it  comes  in  as  a  reason  why  the  disciples  should 
not  mourn,  but  rejoice  rather,  in  his  departure  from 
them,  because  he  had  told  them  he  was  to  go  to  the 
Father,  where  his  state  would  be  not  only  more  glo- 
rious to  himself,  but  of  greater  capacity  to  serre 
them,  than  his  present  state  was.    When  he  was 
entering  upon  his  sufferings,  he  comforted  himself 
with  this,  thBiheandhis  Father  were  one,  Thou^  Father 
art  in  me  and  I  in  thee,^  and  therefore  he  has  reason 
to  expect,  that  the  world  will  believe,  that  they  who 
believe  in  God,  will  believe  also  in  him.    So  much 
are  the  Father  and  the  Son  one,  that  Christ  says.  He 
that  has  seen  me,  has  seen  the  Father »^    We  come  to 
the  knowledge  of  God,  by  the  knowledge  of  Jesus 
Christ,  for  the  glory  of  God  shines  in  the  face  of 
Jesus  Christ ;  and,  therefore,  he  who  believes  in  the 
Father,  as  far  as  the  Son  is  revealed  to  him  to  be 
one  with  the  Father,  will  believe  also  in  him :  and 
by  that  faith  we  come  to  be  one  with  the  Father  and 
the  Son,  and  one  in  them.^    And  thus,  by  keeping 
Christ's  commandments  we  abide  in  his  love,  even  as 
he  kept  his  Father's  commandments,  and  abode  in 
his  love.^    Such  a  close  and  inseparable  union  the 
gospel  all  along  shows  us  between  the  Father  and 
the  Son,  as  that  we  cannot  divide  them  in  our  belief. 
The  heathen  worshipped  their  idols  as  rivals  with 
God,  we  worship  Christ  as  one  with  God :  Believe 
me,  says  Christ,  that  /  am  in  the  Father,  and  the 
Father  in  me.  So  let  us  believe  in  him. 

2.  If  we  believe  m  God,  we  must  believe  also  in 
him  who  is  sent  by  him,  has  a  commission  from  him^ 
and  to  whom  he  has  given  testimony.  We  do  not 
believe  in  God,  unless  we  believe  what  he  has  said 
concerning  his  Son,  and  rest  upon  it ;  what  he  said 
by  the  prophets  of  the  Old  Testament,  who  all  bare 
witness  to  him.  And  those  predictions  of  theirs  were 
all  exactly  and  completely  acoomplished,  which  had 
reference  to  his  estate  of  humiliation,  and  the  afflic- 
tions of  it ;  not  one  iota  or  tittle  of  them  fell  to  the 
ground.  Christ  himself  observed  this  when  he  said. 
It  is  finished:  which  ratifies  those  predictions  that 
had  reference  to  his  estate  of  exaltation,  the  honours 
of  it,  and  the  graces  that  flow  to  us  from  it ;  for  the 
Spirit  of  Christy  in  them,  testified  beforehand  both  of 
the  sufferings  of  Christ,  and  of  the  glory  that  should 
follow.*  We  must  also  believe,  what  he  said  by  a 
voice  from  heaven  concerning  him,  once  and  again. 
This  is  my  beloved  Son,  in  whom  I  am  well  pleased, 
hear  ye  him ;'  and  must  concur  with  him  by  a  sin- 
cere declaration.  This  is  my  beloved  Saviour,  in  wham 
I  am  well  pleased,  and  whom  I  will  hear.^  Thus  we 
set  to  our  seal  that  he  is  true,*  and  subscribe  to  the 
record  we  have  received  in  the  everlasting  gospel, 
which  we  are  willing  to  venture  our  souls  and  our 
salvation  upon,  that  God  has  given  to  us  eternal  life, 
and  this  life  is  in  his  Son ;  which  if  we  receive  not 


▼  John  xvii.  21. 
7  Mat  iii.  17. 


w  John  xv.  10. 
I  Bfatt.  xvli.  5. 


X  iPeti.  II. 
•  John  iii.  30. 


FROM  FAITH  IN  GOD. 


791 


«-e  make  God'  a  liar,^  we  not  only  declare  that  we 
do  not  believe  in  him  ourselves,  but  that  he  is  not  fit 
to  be  believed  by  any  one  else.  Justly  therefore 
has  Christ  said.  He  that  dewpiseth  me,  despisetk  him 
tkei  tent  me ;  as  an  affront  done  to  an  ambassador, 
is  justly  construed  an  affront  to  him  who  gave  him 
his  character  and  credentials. 

We  must  also,  if  we  believe  in  God,  g:ive  credit 
1o  the  many  confirmations  which  we  have  of  his 
testimony  to  his  Son;  the  many  miracles  which 
were  wrought  to  pTO?e  his  divine  mission,  miracles 
of  mercy,  healing  mercy,  which  served  likewise  to 
explain  and  illustrate  it ;  especially  the  resurrection 
of  Jesus  Christ  from  the  dead,  by  which  he  was 
declared  to  be  the  Son  of  God  with  power,<^  and  in 
wbich  God  gave  him  glory,  that  our  faith  and  hope 
might  be  in  God  ;'  that  believing  in  him  whom  he 
raised  from  the  dead,  our  faith  and  hope  in  him 
might  be  both  evidenced  and  encouraged.  The 
pouring  out  of  the  Spirit  likewise,  both  in  his  gUts 
and  in  his  graces,  is  a  further  attestation  gii|pn  to 
Christ's  mission,  for  in  them  God  bare  him  witness  ;* 
nay,  the  Holy  Ghost  whom  God  gave  to  them  who 
belieyed  in  Christ,  and  obeyed  him,'  is  said  to  be 
bis  witness ;  so  that  if  we  believe  in  the  Spirit  of 
God,  we  most  believe  also  in  Christ,  and,  therefore, 
the  imputingof  Christ's  miracles,  which  were  wrought 
by  the  Spirit  of  God,  to  Beelzebub  the  prince  of 
the  devils,  is  jastly  reckoned  an  unpardonable  blai- 
pAemy  againtt  the  Holy  Ghott, 

3.  If  we  believe  in  God,  we  must  j^ire  honour  to  him, 
by  htlietin^  also  in  Je$u$  Christ;  for  thereby  he 
reckons  himself  honoured.  If  we  confess  that  Jesus 
Christ  is  Lord,  it  is  to  the  glory  of  God  the  Father  J 
It  is  certain,  there  is  nothing  in  which  the  glory  of 
God,  and  of  all  his  attributes,  shines  more  bright, 
or  more  strong,  than  in  the  great  work  of  our  re- 
demption wrought  out  by  Jesus  Christ ;  and  there- 
fore, when  the  First-begotten  was  brought  into  the 
world,  the  angels  who  were  charged  to  worship  him 
sang,  Glory  to  God  in  the  highest,  because,  in  Christ, 
there  was  on  earth  peace,  and  good-will  towards 
nen^  so  that,  nnless  by  faith  in  Christ  wc  receive 
that  peace  and  good-will,  and  the  record  given  con- 
cerning it,  we  do  not  as  we  ought  give  unto  God 
the  glory  dne  to  him,  from  that  greatest  of  all  the 
works  of  wonder  by  which  he  has  made  himself 
known.  Do  we  believe  in  God  ?  We  ought  then  to 
riTc  him  the  glory  of  all  that  infinite  wisdom  which 
contrived  oar  redemption  in  such  a  way,  that  divine 
justice  might  be  satisfied,  and  yet  sinners  saved ; 
this  is  the  wisdom  of  God  in  a  mystery,  hidden  wisdom, 
f^nifold  wisdom,  ordained  hrfore  the  world  for  our 
plory.i  We  onght  also  to  give  him  the  glory  of  that 
Undness  and  love  of  God  which  designed  this 
salvation,  those  tender  mereies,  whereby  the  Day- 

^  1  John  ▼.  10, 1 1,      e  Rom.  i.  4.     d  i  Pet  i.  31.     e  Heb.  11.  4. 
f  AcU  V.  32.  r  PhiL  11.  II.  h  Luke  li.  14. 


spring  from  on  high  visited  us ;  love  without  pre- 
cedent, love  without  parallel,  whereby  God  so  loved 
the  world,  as  to  give  his  only-begotten  Son  for  us. 
But  how  can  we  say  we  believe  in  him,  which  is 
giving  glory  to  him,  if  we  rob  him  of  so  great  a  part 
of  his  glory,  by  not  believing  in  Jesus  Christ,  in 
whom  his  glory  shines  in  a  special  manner  ? 

4.  If  we  believe  God  speaking  by  Moses  and  the  pro- 
phets, we  must  believe  also  in  Jesus  Christ ;  for  to 
him  bare  all  the  prophets  witness,  and  in  all  the 
ceremonies  of  the  Mosaic  institution,  he  was  typi- . 
fied  :  if  we  believe  the  Old  Testament,  we  must  also 
believe  the  New ;  for  such  an  exact  correspondence 
and  agreement  is  there  between  them,  as  between 
two  tallies.    The  same  grace  which  the  Old  Testa- 
ment represents  in  shadows,  promises,  and  predic- 
tions, the  New  Testament  produces  in  the  substance 
and  accomplishment,  90  that  they  mutually  confirm 
and  illustrate  one  another.    This  our  Lord  Jesus 
insisted  upon,  as  one  of  the  strongest  proofs  of  his 
divine  mission,  that  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment testified  of  him ;  and  therefore  he  tells  the 
Jews,  who  set  up  Moses  in  opposition  to  him,  that 
Moses,   instead  of  condemning  him,   condemned 
them  for  not  believing  in  him ;  for,  says  he,  Had  ye 
believed  Moses,  ye  would  have  believed  me,  for  he  wrote 
of  me.^    In  the  volume  of  the  booh^  <v  ct^oXi^c — in  the 
head  of  it,  (so  the  word  is,)  in  the  very  beginning  of 
the  book  of  Moses,  it  was  written  of  Christ,  that  as 
the  seed  of  the  woman,  he  should  break  the  serpent's 
head.    It  is  plain,  therefore,  ye  believe  not  his  writings, 
because  ye  believe  not  my  words.    Christ  blamed  the 
two  disciples,  and  afterwards  all  the  rest,  for  their 
slowness  to  believe  what  was  written  concerning  him 
in  the  law  of  Moses,  and  in  the  prophets,  and  in  the 
Psalms,  all  which  was  to  a  tittle  fulfilled  in  him." 
They  who  believed  in  the  God  of  Israel,  and  received 
the  oracles  which  by  him  were  committed  to  them, 
knew  very  well  that  there  was  a  salvation  to  be 
revealed  in  the  last  times ;  that  a  Messiah  should 
come,  to  be  a  prophet  like  Moses,  a  priest  like  Aaron, 
a  king  like  David, — and,  like  the  sacrifices,  to  make 
reconciliation  for  iniquity ;  and  that  he  should  be 
cot  off*,  not  for  himself,  but  for  the  sins  of  his  people." 
And  do  we  not  see  all  this  abundantly  made  good 
in  the  Lord  Jesus?  Has  he  not  done,  has  he  not 
sufiered,  all  that  which  it  was  foretold  he  should  do 
and  sufler  ?  If,  therefore,  we  believe  that  a  Messiah 
was  to  come,  we  must  believe  that  this  was  he  that 
should  come,  and  we  are  not  to  look  for  any  other. 
The  apostles  therefore  all  along  appealed  to  the 
Scriptures  of  the  Old  Testament,  saying  no  other 
things  than  those  which  Moses  and  the  prophets  said 
should  come,**   and   putting    the    unbelief  of  the 
Jews  to  their  ignorance  of  the  voice  of  the  prophets, 
though  they  were   read  among  them  every  sabbath 


1 1  Cor.  ii.  7.  k  John  v.  45—47. 

Luke  xxlv.  25,  S7, 44.       a  D&n.  ix.  28. 


1  Heb.  T.  7. 
e  Acts  xxvl.  23. 


790 


FAITH  IN  CHRIST  INFERRED 


in  him ;  let  us  also  depend  upon  Jesus  Christ,  and 
put  a  conGdence  in  him.  We  believe  in  6€>d,  that 
is,  wo  trust  in  him,  we  rely  upon  his  wisdom  to  di- 
rect us,  his  power  to  support  and  strengthen  us,  his 
goodness  to  pity  us,  and  his  all-sufiiciency  to  give 
all  that  to  usj  and  work  all  that  in  us,  and  for  us, 
which  the  necessity  of  our  case  calls  for.  And  we 
therefore  refer  ourselves  to  him,  and  encourage  our- 
selves in  him ;  now  let  us  thus  believe  also  in  Jesus 
Christ,  and  make  him  our  hope.  As  we  confide  in 
the  providence  of  God  for  all  things  that  relate  to 
the  natural  life ;  and  cheerfully  submit  ourselves  to 
the  conduct  of  that  providence,  hoping  by  it  to  be 
carried  comfortably  through  this  world ;  so  we  con- 
fide in  the  gp^ce  of  the  Lord  Jesus  for  all  things  re- 
lating to  the  spiritual  life,  and  cheerfully  submit 
ourselves  to  the  operations  of  that  grace,  hoping  by 
it  to  be  carried  safely  to  a  better  world  ;  desiring  not 
more  to  secure  our  present  and  future  welfare,  than 
to  have  the  grace  of  the  Lord  Jesut  Christ  with  our 
Spirit/*  Our  dependence  must  be  upon  Christ  both 
for  righteousness  and  strength ,p  the  two  great  things 
we  stand  in  need  of;  from  a  full  conviction  of  our 
own  guilt  and  weakness,  and  of  his  ability  and  will- 
ingness to  save  us  from  sin  and  wrath,  we  must  ven- 
ture all  our  spiritual  concerns  with  him.  In  every 
thing  wherein  we  have  to  do  with  God,  we  must  make 
mention  of  his  righteousness,  and  make  use  of  his 
grace, — and,  of  both,  as  all-sufficient  for  us ;  must 
depend  upon  him  to  bring  us  safe  through  this  wil- 
derness to  the  heavenly  Canaan  ;  and  having  done 
this,  as  those  who  know  whom  we  have  trusted,  we 
must  be  willing  to  venture  all  our  temporal  concerns 
for  him,  to  leave,  and  lose,  and  lay  out  all  for  his 
sake,  being  well  assured,  that  though  we  may  be 
losers  for  him,  we  shall  not,  we  cannot,  be  losers  by 
him  in  the  end. 

III.  I  come  in  the  next  place  to  show  the  neces- 
sary connexion  that  there  is  between  these  two  great 
duties,  of  believing  in  God,  and  believing  also  in 
Jesus  Christ;  and  how  the  latter  will  follow  of 
course,  if  the  former  be  sincere,  in  all  those  to  whom 
the  glad  tidings  of  the  gospel-salvation  are  brought. 
They  must  needs  embrace  the  Christian  religion,  who 
cordially  entertain  natural  religion  ;  and  they  who 
do  not  believe  in  Christ,  whatever  they  pretend,  do 
not  indeed  believe  in  God :  for, 

1.  If  we  believe  in  God,  we  must  believe  in  him 
who  is  One  with  him,  the  Brightness  of  his  glory, 
and  the  express  Image  of  his  Person.^  Christ  in  his 
gospel  has  expressly  told  us,  /  and  my  Father  are 
one  J  And  when  he  says.  My  Father  is  greater  than 
/,•  the  comparison  is  not  between  the  person  of  the 
Father  and  of  the  Son,  but  between  the  Son's  state 
of  exaltation  with  the  Father  and  his  present 
^tite  of  humiliation ;  as  plainly  appears,  because 

p  Oal.  VI.  18.      p  Isa.  xlv.  24.      q  Heb.  i.  3.       r  John  x.  30. 
•  John  xiv.  28.         t  John  xvii.  21.         n  John  xiv.  9. 


it  comes  in  as  a  reason  why  the  disciples  should 
not  mourn,  but  rejoice  rather,  in  his  departure  from 
them,  because  he  had  told  them  he  was  to  go  to  the 
Father,  where  his  state  would  be  not  only  more  glo- 
rious to  himself,  but  of  greater  capacity  to  serve 
them,  than  his  present  state  was.  When  he  was 
entering  npon  his  sufferings,  he  comforted  himself 
with  this,  thstheandhis  Father  were  one,  7%ou,  Father 
art  in  me  and  I  in  thee,^  and  therefore  he  has  reason 
to  expect,  that  the  world  will  believe,  that  they  who 
believe  in  God,  will  believe  also  in  him.  So  much 
are  the  Father  and  the  Son  one,  that  Christ  says.  He 
that  has  seen  me,  has  seen  the  Father,^  We  come  to 
the  knowledge  of  God,  by  the  knowledge  of  Jesus 
Christ,  for  the  glory  of  God  shines  in  the  face  of 
Jesus  Christ ;  and,  therefore,  he  who  believes  in  the 
Father,  as  far  as  the  Son  is  revealed  to  him  to  be 
one  with  the  Father,  will  believe  also  in  him  :  and 
by  that  faith  we  come  to  be  one  with  the  Father  and 
the  Son,  and  one  tit  them.*  And  thus,  by  keeping 
Christ's  commandments  we  abide  in  his  love,  even  as 
he  kept  his  Father's  commandments,  and  abode  in 
his  love,^  Such  a  close  and  inseparable  union  the 
gospel  all  along  shows  us  between  the  Father  and 
the  Son,  as  that  we  cannot  divide  them  in  our  belief. 
The  heathen  worshipped  their  idols  as  rivals  with 
God,  we  worship  Christ  as  one  with  God :  Believe 
me,  says  Christ,  that  I  am  in  the  Father,  and  the 
Father  in  me.  So  let  us  believe  in  him. 

2.  If  we  believe  in  God,  we  must  believe  also  in 
him  who  is  sent  by  him,  has  a  commission  from  him, 
and  to  whom  he  has  given  testimony.  We  do  not 
believe  in  God,  unless  we  believe  what  he  has  said 
concerning  his  Son,  and  rest  upon  it ;  what  he  said 
by  the  prophets  of  the  Old  Testament,  who  all  bare 
witness  to  him.  And  those  predictions  of  theirs  were 
all  exactly  and  completely  acoomplished,  which  had 
reference  to  his  estate  of  humiliation,  and  the  afllic- 
tions  of  it ;  not  one  iota  or  tittle  of  them  fell  to  the 
ground.  Christ  himself  observed  this  when  he  said. 
It  is  finished:  which  ratifies  those  predictions  that 
had  reference  to  his  estate  of  exaltation,  the  honours 
of  it,  and  the  graces  that  flow  to  us  from  it ;  for  the 
Spirit  of  Christ,  in  them,  testified  beforehand  both  of 
the  sufferings  of  Christ,  and  of  the  glory  that  should 
follow,^  We  must  also  believe,  what  he  said  by  a 
voice  fVom  heaven  concerning  him,  once  and  again. 
This  is  my  beloved  Son,  tn  whom  I  am  well  pleased, 
hear  ye  him ;'  and  must  concur  vrith  him  by  a  sin- 
cere declaration.  This  is  my  beloved  Saviour,  tn  whom 
I  am  well  pleased,  and  whom  I  will  hear,*  Thus  we 
set  to  our  seal  that  he  is  true,*  and  subscribe  to  the 
record  we  have  received  in  the  everlasting  gospel, 
which  we  are  willing  to  venture  our  souls  and  our 
salvation  upon,  that  God  has  given  to  us  eternal  life, 
and  this  life  is  in  his  Son ;  which  if  we  receive  not 


▼  John  xvii.  21. 
y  Mat  iii.  17. 


w  John  XV.  10. 
s  Blatt  xvii.  5. 


X  iPeti.  11. 
•  John  iii.  33. 


FROM  FAITH  IN  GOD. 


791 


we  make  God*  a  liar,^  we  not  only  declare  that  we 
do  not  believe  in  him  ourselves,  but  that  he  is  not  fit 
to  be  believed  by  any  one  else.  Justly  therefore 
has  Christ  said.  He  that  despiteth  me,  despiseth  kim 
that  sent  me ;  as  an  affront  done  to  an  ambassador, 
is  justly  construed  an  affront  to  him  who  j^ave  him 
his  character  and  credentials. 

We  mnst  also,  if  we  believe  in  God,  give  credit 
fo  the  many  confirmations  which  we  have  of  his 
testimony  to  his  Son;  the  many  miracles  which 
were  wrought  to  prove  his  divine  mission,  miracles 
of  mercy,  healing  mercy,  which  served  likewise  to 
explain  and  illustrate  it ;  especially  the  resurrection 
of  Jesus  Christ  from  the  dead,  by  which  he  was 
declared  to  be  the  Son  of  God  with  power ,«  and  in 
which  God  gave  him  glory,  that  our  faith  and  hope 
might  be  in  God  f  that  believing  in  him  whom  he 
raised  from  the  dead,  our  faith  and  hope  in  him 
mi^ht  be  both  evidenced  and  encouraged.  The 
pouring  out  of  the  Spirit  likewise,  both  in  his  glhs 
and  in  his  graces,  is  a  further  attestation  gi^n  to 
Christ's  mission,  for  in  them  God  bare  him  witness  ;* 
nay,  the  Holy  Ghost  whom  God  gave  to  them  who 
believed  in  Christ,  and  obeyed  him,'  is  said  to  be 
his  witness ;  so  that  if  we  believe  in  the  Spirit  of 
God,  we  mast  believe  also  in  Christ,  and,  therefore, 
the  impntingof  Christ's  miracles,  which  were  wrought 
by  the  Spirit  of  God,  to  Beelzebub  the  prince  of 
the  devils,  is  jostly  reckoned  an  unpardonable  bias- 
phemif  against  the  Holy  Ghott, 

3.  If  we  believe  in  God,  we  must^tre  honour  to  him, 
by  hdievin^  also  in  Jeiui  Christ;  for  thereby  be 
reckons  himself  honoured.  If  we  confess  that  Jesus 
Christ  is  Lordj  it  is  to  the  glory  of  God  the  Father  J 
It  is  certain,  there  is  nothing  in  which  the  glory  of 
God,  and  of  all  his  attributes,  shines  more  bright, 
or  more  strong,  than  in  the  great  work  of  our  re- 
demption wrought  out  by  Jesus  Christ ;  and  there- 
fore, when  the  First-begotten  was  brought  into  the 
world,  the  angels  who  were  charged  to  worship  him 
saog,  Glory  to  God  in  the  highest^  because,  in  Christ, 
there  was  on  earth  peace,  and  good-will  towards 
mm  ^  so  that,  an  less  by  faith  in  Christ  we  receive 
that  peace  and  good-will,  and  the  record  given  con- 
cerning it,  we  do  not  as  we  ought  give  unto  God 
the  glory  doe  to  him,  from  that  greatest  of  all  the 
works  of  wonder  by  which  he  has  made  himself 
known.  Do  we  believe  in  God  ?  We  ought  then  to 
fdve  him  the  glory  of  all  that  infinite  wisdom  which 
contrived  our  redemption  in  such  a  way,  that  divine 
jastice  might  be  satisfied,  and  yet  sinners  saved ; 
this  is  the  wisdom  of  God  in  a  mystery ,  hidden  wisdom, 
f»enifold  wisdoms,  ordained  before  the  world  for  our 
9lonf,i  We  ought  also  to  give  him  the  glory  of  that 
kindness  and  love  of  God  which  designed  this 
salvation,  those  tender  mercies,  whereby  the  Day- 

^  I  John  V.  10, 11.      e  Rom.  i.  4.     d  I  Pet.  i.  21.     •  Heb.  ii.  4. 
f  AcU  V.  33.  f  PhlL  ii.  II.  h  Luke  il.  14.  ' 


spring  from  on  high  visited  us ;  love  without  pre- 
cedent, love  without  parallel,  whereby  God  so  loved 
the  world,  as  to  give  his  only-begotten  Son  for  us. 
But  how  can  we  say  we  believe  in  him,  which  is 
giving  glory  to  him,  if  we  rob  him  of  so  great  a  part 
of  his  glory,  by  not  believing  in  Jesus  Christ,  in 
whom  his  glory  shines  in  a  special  manner  ? 

4.  If  we  believe  God  speaking  by  Moses  and  the  pro- 
phets, we  must  believe  also  in  Jesus  Christ ;  for  to 
him  bare  all  the  prophets  witness,  and  in  all  the 
ceremonies  of  the  Mosaic  institution,  he  was  typi- . 
fied  :  if  we  believe  the  Old  Testament,  we  must  also 
believe  the  New ;  for  such  an  exact  correspondence 
and  agreement  is  there  between  them,  as  between 
two  tallies.    The  same  grace  which  the  Old  Testa- 
ment represents  in  shadows,  promises,  and  predic- 
tions, the  New  Testament  produces  in  the  substance 
and  accomplishment,  90  that  they  mutually  confirm 
and  illustrate  one  another.    This  our  Lord  Jesus 
insisted  upon,  as  one  of  the  strongest  proofs  of  his 
divine  mission,  that  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment testified  of  him ;  and  therefore  he  tells  the 
Jews,  who  set  up  Moses  in  opposition  to  him,  that 
Moses,  instead  of  condemning  him,   condemned 
them  for  not  believing  in  him ;  for,  says  he.  Had  ye 
believed  Moses,  ye  would  have  believed  me,  for  he  wrote 
of  me}'     In  the  volume  of  the  booh^  iv  ce^oXi^i — in  the 
head  of  it,  (so  the  word  is,)  in  the  very  beginning  of 
the  book  of  Moses,  it  was  written  of  Christ,  that  as 
the  seed  of  the  woman,  he  should  break  the  serpent's 
head.   It  is  plain,  therefore,  ye  believe  not  his  writings ^ 
because  ye  believe  not  my  words*    Christ  blamed  the 
two  disciples,  and  afterwards  all  the  rest,  for  their 
slowness  to  believe  what  was  written  concerning  him 
in  the  law  of  Moses,  and  in  the  prophets,  and  in  the 
Psalms,  all  which  was  to  a  tittle  fulfilled  in  him." 
They  who  believed  in  the  God  of  Israel,  and  received 
the  oracles  which  by  him  were  committed  to  them» 
knew  very  well  that  there  was  a  salvation  to  be 
revealed  in  the  last  times ;  that  a  Messiah  should 
come,  to  be  a  prophet  like  Moses,  a  priest  like  Aaron, 
a  king  like  David, — and,  like  the  sacrifices,  to  mako 
reconciliation  for  iniquity ;  and  that  he  should  be 
cot  off*,  not  for  himself,  but  for  tlie  sins  of  his  people.** 
And  do  we  not  see  all  this  abundantly  made  good 
in  the  Lord  Jesus?  Has  he  not  done,  has  he  not 
suffered,  all  that  which  it  was  foretold  he  should  do 
and  suffer  ?  If,  therefore,  we  believe  that  a  Messiah 
was  to  come,  we  must  believe  that  this  was  he  that 
should  come,  and  we  are  not  to  look  for  any  other. 
The  apostles  therefore  all  along  appealed  to  the 
Scriptures  of  the  Old  Testament,  saying  no  other 
things  than  those  which  Moses  and  the  prophets  said 
should  come,^   and   putting    the    unbelief  of  the 
Jews  to  their  ignorance  of  the  voice  of  the  prophets, 
though  they  were  read  among  them  every  sabbath 


i  I  Cor.  ii.  7.  k  Jolin  v.  45—47. 

m  Luke  xxiv.  25,  S7, 44.       B  Dan.  ix.  98. 


1  Heb.  X.  7. 
e  Acts  xxvi.  2S. 


792 


FAITH  IN  CHRIST  INFERRED 


day.p  So  that,  in  short,  if  we  believe  that  there  is 
such  a  thing  as  a  divine  revelation,  that  God  has 
made  a  discovery  of  himself,  and  of  his  will  and  grace, 
to  the  children  of  men,  we  must  believe  the  gospel, 
and  the  testimony  it  bears,  God  has  sent  his  son  into 
the  worldy  not  to  condemn  the  world,  but  that  the  world 
through  him  might  have  righteousness  and  life. 

5.  If  we  rightly  apprehend  how  matters  stand  be- 
tween God  and  man  since  the  fall,  as  those  must  do 
who  believe  in  God,  who  believe  his  holiness  and 
justice,  and  his  relations  to  man,  we  shall  readily 
receive  the  notice  which  the  gospel  g^ves  us  of  a 
Mediator  between  God  and  man ;  not  only  because 
we  shall  soon  perceive  how  desirable  it  is  that  there 
should  be  such  a  Mediator,  (and  we  are  easily 
brought  to  believe  what  is  for  our  honour  and  ad- 
vantage, quod  volumus  facile  credimus—^ohat  we  wish 
we  easily  believe,)  but  because  we  shall  perceive, 
likewise,  how  probable  it  is  that  a  God  of  infinite 
grace  and  mercy  should  appoint  such  a  Mediator, 
and  make  him  known  to  us.  It  is  a  great  confirm- 
ation of  the  truth  of  the  Christian  religion,  that  it 
not  only  agrees  with,  and  is  a  ratification  of,  the 
principles  and  laws  of  natural  religion,  and  is  an 
improvement  and  advancement  of  them,  but  that  it 
supplies  the  deficiencies  of  it ;  it  takes  us  up  and 
helps  us  out,  where  that  fails  us  and  leaves  us  at  a 
loss.  So  that  if  we  make  just  reflections  upon  our- 
selves, and  our  own  case  as  it  appears  to  us  by  the 
light  of  nature,  there  cannot  but  be  a  disposition  in^ 
us  to  receive  and  embrace  the  gospel,  and  to  enter- 
tain it  not  only  as  a  faithful  saying,  but  as  well 
worthy  of  all  acceptation,  that  Christ  Jesus  came 
into  the  world  to  save  sinners.  If  we  rightly  believe 
in  God,  and  withal  rightly  understand  ourselves, 
we  cannot  but  perceive  our  case  to  be  such  as  calls 
for  the  interposition  of  a  Mediator  between  us  and 
God ;  and  we  are  undone  if  there  be  no  such  a  one ; 
and  we  will  therefore  cheerfully  receive  him. 

(I.)  We  cannot  but  perceive  that  man  has  in  a 
great  measure  lost  the  knowledge  of  God,  and  there- 
fore should  gladly  believe  in  him  who  has  revealed 
him  to  us.  It  is  certainly  the  greatest  satisfaction 
and  best  entertainment  to  our  intellectual  powers, 
to  know  God  the  author  and  felicity  of  our  being^. 
The  understanding  of  man  cannot  rest  short  of  this 
knowledge ;  but  we  find  that  by  the  entrance  of  sin, 
our  understandings  are  darkened,<i  and  the  children 
of  men  are  generally  alienated  from  the  divine  light 
and  life,  through  the  ignorance  that  is  in  them,  be- 
cause of  the  blindness  of  their  heart :  The  world  by 
wisdom  knew  not  God*  and  the  things  of  God  vne  fool- 
ishness to  the  natural  man,*  Are  we  sensible  of  this 
as  our  misery,  that  we  cannot  by  any  researches  of 
our  own  come  to  such  a  knowledge  of  God,  as  is 
necessary  to  our  communion  with  him  ?    If  we  are 


p  Acts  ziii.  37. 
•  1  Cor.  ii.  94. 


q  Eph.  i.  18. 
t  1  John  L  18. 


r  1  Cor.  1. 31. 
u  John  i.  0. 


SO,  we  shall  readily  embrace  Christ  as  a  prophet* 
who  having  lain  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father  from 
eternity,  has  declared  him  *  to  the  children  of  men, 
and  has  brought  into  this  dark  world  the  light  of 
the  knowledge  of  this  glory,  with  such  convincing 
evidences  of  a  divine  truth,  and  such  endearing  in- 
stances of  a  divine  grace  and  love  in  this  light,  as 
are  abundantly  sufiicient  both  to  captivate  the  un- 
derstanding and  engage  the  affections.  This  is  the 
true  light,  which  is  sufficient  to  lighten  every  man  that 
Cometh  into  this  world,"*  and  to  direct  him  throogb  it 
to  a  better  world.  And  shall  we  not  open  our  eyes 
to  such  a  light?  Can  we  be  such  strangers,  such 
enemies,  to  ourselves,  and  our  own  interests,  as  to 
love  darkness  rather  than  this  light  ?^ 

(2.)  We  cannot  but  perceive,  that  there  is  an  in- 
finite distance  between  God  and  man,  and  therefore 
should  gladly  believe  in  one,  in  whose  person  the 
divine  and  human  natures  are  wonderfully  united. 
Tib  light  of  nature  shows  us  the  glory  of  a  God 
abov^  us  ;  as  heaven  is  high  above  the  earth,  so  are 
his  thoughts  and  ways  above  ours :  whence  we  are 
tempted  to  infer,  that  there  is  no  having  any  com- 
munion with  him,  that  he  is  not  conversable  with 
us,  and  that  we  cannot  expect  that  he  should  take 
any  cognizance  of  us.  Shall  we  not  therefore  wel- 
come the  tidings  of  a  Mediator  between  God  and 
man,  even  the  Man  Christ  Jesus  ?  Shall  we  not  be 
glad  to  hoar,  that  this  God  above  us  is,  in  Christ, 
Immanuel,  God  with  t»,*  God  in  our  nature,  God 
manifested  in  the  flesh ;  the  Eternal  Word  incarnate, 
which  will  facilitate  our  communion  with  God,  and 
represent  it  to  us  as  a  thing  possible  ?  When  we  look 
upon  God  as  the  almighty  Creator  and  Sovereign  of 
the  world,  a  being  of  infinite  perfection  and  blessed- 
ness, we  are  tempted  to  say,  Witt  this  God  in  very 
deed  dwell  with  men,  with  mean  and  sinful  worms, 
on  the  earth  f  But  when  we  look  upon  the  Son  of 
God  clothed  with  a  body,  and  visiting  in  great  hu- 
mility this  remote  comer  of  the  universe,  which  God 
has  let  out  to  the  children  of  men,  as  a  vineyard  to 
unthankful  husbandmen,  we  are  encouraged  to 
say  with  triumph.  Behold  the  tabernacle  of  God  is 
with  men,  and  his  sanctuary  in  the  midst  of  them  for 
evermore.*  We  are  quite  lost  in  our  thoughts,  when 
we  come  to  meditate  seriously  on  the  divine  perfec- 
tions, for  they  are  an  unfathomable  depth,  which  we 
cannot  find  out,  concerning  which  we  cannot  order 
our  speech  by  reason  of  darkness ;  If  a  man  speak, 
surely  he  shall  be  swallowed  up  :^  but  when  we  come 
with  an  eye  of  faith  to  see  the  Father  in  Christ,  who 
is  both  God  and  man,  and  are  brought  by  faith  to 
Jesus  the  Mediator  of  the  new  covenant,  and  through 
him  to  God  the  Judge  of  all,'  this  makes  his  glory 
the  more  intelligible,  (he  that  hath  seen  me,  says 
Christ,  hath  seen  the  Father,)  his  example  the  more 

T  John  iu.  19.        »  Malt  i.  33.        >  Ezek.  zuvii.  96, 27. 
J  Job  xxxvii.  90.  B  Heb.  ili.  33,  %i. 


FROM  FAITH  IN  GOD. 


793 


jraitable,  his  favour  the  more  attainahle,  and  man's 
communion  with  him  the  more  practicable. 

(3.)  We  cannot  but  perceive  the  matter  to  be  yet 
worse; — ^that  there  is  a  quarrel  between  God  and  man 
bj  reason  of  sin  ;  that  the  God  who  made  us  is  not 
only  a  God  above  «#,  but  a  God  agaimt  us ;  and  there- 
fore we  should  gladly  believe  in  him  by  whom  that 
quarrel  is  taken  up,  in  whom  God  was  reconciling 
the  world  to  hintiself,  *  and  who  is  our  peace.     You 
believe  in  God,  your  great  Lord  and  Lawgiver ;  and 
do  you  not  believe,  that  he  requires  of  you  an  exact 
conformity  to  the  law  of  your  creation ;  that  since  he 
made  you  for  himself,  to  show  forth  his  praise,  you 
should  accordingly  live  to  his  honour ;  that  he  who 
eodaed  you  with  the  powers  of  reason,  designed  that 
Tour  appetites  and  passions  should  always  act  un- 
der the  direction  and  dominion  of  those  powers? 
Does  not  even  the  light  of  nature  tell  you,  that  God, 
who  is  the  best  of  beings,  is  to  be  loved  and  delight- 
ed in  above  all ;  that  all  the  gifts  of  his  bounty  are 
to  be  received  by  us  with  thankfulness,  and  all  the 
rebukes  of  his  justice  submitted  to  with  patience  ? 
These  are  the  rules  which  3*00  know  you  should 
ha\e  been  ruled  by :  but  you  know  you  have  come 
short  of  these  rules ;  that  those  affections  of  your 
son  Is  have  been  set  upon  the  world  and  the  flesh, 
which  should  have  been  set  upon  God  only;  that 
th(^  appetites  of  a  mortal  body,  by  which  you  are 
allied  to  the  earth,  have  been  indulged,  to  the  un- 
speakable disgrace  and  detriment  of  an  immortal 
spirit,  by  which  you  are  allied  to  the  upper  world. 
It  is  not  only  the  Scripture,  but  even  natural  con- 
science, that  has  concluded  us  all  under  sin.   Those 
who  had  not  the   law,  yet  showed  the  accusing, 
convineing  work  of  the  law  written  in  their  hearts.*" 
And  will  not  your  own  hearts  tell  you  likewise,  that 
TOQ  having  offended  God,  he  is  displeased  with  you, 
and  yon  lie  under  his  wrath  ?    If  God  be  infinitely 
perfect,  as  certainly  he  is,  he  is  infinitely  just  and 
holy;  and  as  the  Governor  of  the  world,  is  engaged 
in  honour  to  punish  sin,  that  his  law  may  not  be 
trampled  on,  and  his  dominion  made  contemptible. 
I)oyou  believe  this  concerning  God,  and  this  con- 
eemiog  yourselves?  and  will  you  not  welcome  the 
tidings  of  a  reconciliation  between  you  and  God,  and 
cladly  believe  in  him  who  was  made  sin  and  a  curse 
for  Hit,  that  we  through  him  might  have  righteous- 
ness and  life  ?     Was  Christ  slain  as  a  sacrifice  to 
slay  this  enmity  between  us  and  God,  and  shall  not 
v<^  by  faith  lay  our  hands  on  the  head  of  this  sa- 
crifice, and  apply  for  an  interest  in  it  ?    Shall  not 
the  Prince  of  peace  be  our  peace  ?    Shall  not  we 
receire  the  atonement,'  consent  to  it,  confide  in  it, 
and  take  the  comfort  of  it,  when  it  is  an  atonement 
^hich  God  himself  has  appointed  and  accepted  ? 
\^  hen  we  see  that  God  contends  with  us,  and  that 

•  S  Cor.  ▼.  19.  i»  Rom.  ii.  14. 15.  «  Rom.  v.  11. 

4  Lflkc  xiT.  31.         •  I  Cor.  i.  39.        f  Jcr.  Hi.  19. 


it  is  in  vain  for  us  to  think  of  contending  with  him ; 
with  ten  thousand  we  dare  not  meet  him  that  comes 
against  us  with  twenty  thousand;'^  it  is  like  setting 
briers  and  thorns  before  a  consuming  fire,  which  are 
fuel  to  it,  instead  of  being  a  fence  against  it ;  sure 
we  shall  see  it  is  our  interest  to  take  hold  on  his 
strength,  that  we  may  make  peace  with  him ;  es- 
pecially when  this  method  of  reconciliation  is  not  an 
uncertain  thing,  for  he  has  told  ns  we  shall  make 
peace  with  him. 

(4.)  Yet  this  is  not  the  worst  of  it :  we  cannot  but 
perceive  that  we  are  corrupt  and  sinful,  that  our  na- 
ture is  depraved  and  vitiated,  and  wretchedly  dege- 
nerated from  what  it  was,  as  it  came  out  of  God's 
hand ;  and,  therefore,  we  should  gladly  believe  in 
him  who  is  made  of  God  to  us  not  only  righteousness 
but  sanctification,*  and  who  came  into  the  world,  not 
only  to  restore  us  to  the  favour  of  God,  but  to  renew 
his  image  upon  us.  Do  we  not  sensibly  find  by 
daily  experience,  that  our  minds  are  alienated  from 
God,  and  there  is  in  them  a  strong  bias  toward  the 
world  and  the  flesh ;  that  we  are  not  of  ourselves 
either  inclinable  to,  or  sufficient  for,  any  thing  that 
is  good,  but  continually  prone  to  that  which  is  evil  ? 
And  being  thus  sick,  from  the  crown  of  the  head  to 
the  sole  of  the  foot  distempered,  shall  we  not  re- 
joice to  hear  of  balm  in  Gilead,  and  a  Physician  there? 
And  shall  we  not  apply  that  balm,  and  put  ourselves 
under  the  care  of  that  Physician  ?  If  you  believe  in 
God,  you  believe  that  as  he  is  holy  so  you  should 
be  holy :  but  you  find  you  are  not  so,  nothing  of  his 
resemblance  appears  upon  you,  and  therefore  you 
cannot  expect  he  should  put  you  among  his  children, 
or  give  you  the  pleasant  land.^  Will  you  not  then 
believe  also  in  him,  who  has  undertaken  not  only  to 
show  us  the  glory  of  the  Lord,  but  by  his  Spirit  to 
change  us  into  the  same  image  from  glory  to  glory  ;S 
and  is  able  to  make  good  his  undertaking?  For 
therefore  it  pleased  the  Father  ^  that  in  him  all  fulness 
should  dwell,  ihsit  from  his  fulness  all  we  might  receive^ 
and  grace  for  grace  ;^  that  being  gifted  into  that 
good  olive,  we  might  partake  of  his  root  and  fatness; 
and  though  severed  from  him  we  can  do  nothing,  yet 
we  may  be  able  to  do  all  things  through  Christ 
strengthening  us.*  If  it  be  indeed,  as  it  ought  to  be, 
our  shame  and  sorrow,  that  we  are  by  nature  so  much 
under  the  dominion  of  a  vain  and  carnal  mind, — no 
saying  will  appear  to  us  so  well  worthy  of  all  ac- 
ceptation, as  this,  that  Christ  Jesus  came  to  save  his 
people  from  their  sins,^  and  to  purify  them  a  peculiar 
people  to  himself  zealous  of  good  works,  ^ 

(5.)  If  we  believe  that  God  is  the  Father  of  our 
spirits,  we  cannot  but  perceive  that  they  are  immor- 
tal, that  they  must  shortly  return  to  God  who  gave 
them,  and  that  we  are  made  for  another  world, — and 
therefore  will  gladly  believe  in  one  who  will  be  our 


r  3  Cor.  iii.  la 
k  Matt.  1. 21. 


h  John  i.  16. 


1  Phil.  iv.  13. 
1  Tit.  ii.  14. 


794 


FAITH  IN  CHRIST  INFERRED 


guide  to  that  world,  who  will  stand  our  friend  in  the 
jadgment,  and  secure  our  welfare  in  the  future  state. 
Do  we  not  find  our  souls  strongly  impressed  with  a 
belief  of  their  own  existence  in  a  state  of  separation 
from  the  body  ?  The  thinking  part^  even  of  the  hea- 
then world,  did  so.  Natural  conscience,  which  is 
either  a  heaven  or  a  hell  in  men's  own  bosoms,  plainly 
intimates  to  them,  that  there  is  a  state  of  rewards  and 
punishments  on  the  other  side  death,  and  a  righteous 
doom  of  every  man  to  the  one  or  to  the  other :  but 
when  we  come  to  inquire,  **  How  shall  we  make  the 
Judge  our  friend  ?  What  plea  will  bring  us  off  in  the 
judgment  ?  What  is  the  happiness  that  is  set  before 
us  in  another  world  ?  And  what  course  shall  we 
take  to  make  it  sure  to  ourselves?"  When  we  ask 
*<  What  shall  wc  do  to  get  above  the  fear  of  death  ? " 
(we  see  its  stroke  inevitable ;)  "  what  have  we  where- 
with to  arm  ourselves  against  its  terror?  From  what 
advances  here  can  we  take  a  comfortable  prospect  of 
our  state  hereafter  ?  We  must  shortly  be  stript  of  all 
our  enjoyments  in  this  world ;  what  is  there'that  will 
befriend  us  in  our  removal  to  another  world  ? "  Here 
the  light  of  nature  leaves  us  quite  at  a  loss.  Neither 
ibe  philosophers  with  their  wisest  considerations, 
nor  the  infidels  with  their  boldest  contradictions, 
could  ever  reconcile  men  to  death,  or  enable  them 
upon  any  good  grounds  cheerfally  to  quit  this  world. 
Animula  vagula,  hlandnla,  (said  one  of  the  wisest  of 
the  heathen  upon  his  death-bed,)  qu4B  nunc  abibis  in 
locaf^'Whither  art  thou  now  going,  O  my  poor  soul? 
Death,  with  a  noted  atheist,  was  ^great  leap  in  the  darh. 
It  is  certain,  nothing  but  Christ  and  his  gospel  can 
furnish  us  with  such  comforts,  as  will  carry  us  with- 
out the  fear  of  evil  through  the  valley  of  the  shadow 
of  death.  Shall  we  not  then  readily  believe  in  Christ, 
and  bid  his  gospel  welcome  into  our  hearts,  that  light 
by  which  such  clear  and  full  discoveries  are  made  of 
life  and  immortality  ?  Shall  we  not  depend  upon  him 
with  an  entire  satisfaction,  and  give  up  ourselves  to 
his  conduct,  who  has  enabled  us  to  triumph  over  death 
and  the  grave,  and  to  say,  O  death,  where  is  thy  sting j 
where  is  thy  terror?  Have  we  not  reason  to  entertain 
that  institution  as  of  a  divine  original,  which  is  so 
wisely,  so  kindly,  suited  to  our  case  in  the  last  and 
greatest  exigence  of  it ;  which  shows  us  the  wny, 
through  this  wilderness,  to  an  everlasting  rest  for 
souls ;  which  divides  Jordan  before  us,  and  makes  a 
path  through  it  for  the  ransomed  of  the  Lord  to  pass 
over?  Do  we  believe  that  our  souls  must  go  to  God  ? 
and  shall  we  not  believe  in  him  who  will  introduce  us, 
who  will  receive  our  spirits,  and  present  them  to  the 
Father,  and  lodge  them  in  the  mansions  which  be 
himself  has  prepared  in  his  Father's  house  ?  How 
forward  should  dying  creatures  be  to  embrace  a 
living  Saviour,  who  is  and  will  be  life  in  death  to 
all  who  by  faith  are  united  to  him,  and  who  has  said. 
Because  I  live  ye  shall  live  also.^ 

m  John  xiv.  19. 


Now  lay  all  this  together,  and  then  tell  me,  ^whe- 
ther those  who  believe  In  God  have  not  a  great  deal 
of  reason  to  believe  also  in  Jesus  Christ ;  not  only 
to  desire  such  a  Saviour,  but  to  depend  apon  tbe 
Lord  Jesus,  as  every  way  fitted  to  be  the  Savioar, 
and  able  to  save  to  the  uttermost. 

And  now  will  you  hear  the  conclusion  of  the  tv^bole 
matter  ? 

1.  Let  us  be  more  and  more  confirmed  in  oar  be- 
lief of  the  principles  of  natural  religion,  which  Chris- 
tianity supposes,  and  is  founded  upon.  Let  the  die- 
fates  of  the  light  and  law  of  nature  be  always  sacred 
with  us,  and  have  a  commanding  sway  and  empire 
in  our  souls.  So  agreeable  is  revealed  reli^on  to 
right  reason,  and  the  established  rules  of  good  and 
evil,  that  what  contradicts  and  violates  them,  how 
plausible  soever  its  pretensions  may  be,  oug^ht  to  be 
rejected,  as  no  part  of  Christianity. 

Therefore  they  who,  under  colour  of  seal  for 
Christianity,  hate  and  persecute  their  brethren,  kill 
them,  and  say  they  do  God  good  service,  or  under 
that  pretence  despise  dominion,  resist  the  powers 
that  are  ordained  of  God,  break  the  public  order,  and 
disturb  the  public  peace,  who  think  no  faith  is  to  be 
kept  with  those  they  call  heretics,  and  that  it  is  law- 
ful to  lie  for  the  truth  ;  these  put  a  high  affront  upon 
the  Christian  religion,  and  do  it  the  greatest  wrong 
and  injury  imaginable.  To  such  we  may  say,  Yoa 
profess  to  believe  in  Christ,  but  do  you  believe  in 
God?  Is  Christ  the  minister  of  sin?  If  he  came  not 
to  destroy  the  law  and  the  prophets,  but  to  falfil  them, 
can  we  think  he  came  to  set  up  a  religion  that  should 
be  served  and  advanced  by  a  flat  contradiction  to 
those  principles  and  rational  instincts,  (if  I  may  so 
call  them,)  which  were  prior  and  superior  even  to  the 
law  of  Moses  and  the  prophetical  inspirations? 
Christ  came  to  renew  the  tables  which  sin  had 
broken ;  not  to  blot  out  any  thing  that  was  eng^raven 
in  the  heart  of  man  by  nature,  but  to  write  apon  the 
tables  according  to  the  first  writing,  and  to  add  thereto 
many  like  words.  If  it  became  Christ,  no  doubt  it  be- 
comes Christians,  to  fulfil  all  righteousnes*  ;^  for  we 
may  say  of  the  principles  of  natural  relif^ion,  as 
St.  Paul  does  of  the  law  of  Moses,  Do  we  make  them 
void  by  the  faith  of  the  gospel  ?  God  forbid  ;  nay,  wc 
establish  them.*^ 

2.  Yet  let  us  not  rest  in  a  mere  natural  religion, 
and  a  compliance  with  it,  but  let  us,  with  the  fullest 
conviction  and  highest  satisfaction,  embrace  and 
firmly  adhere  to  the  principles  of  revealed  religion, 
and  submit  to  the  commanding,  constraining^  power 
and  influence  of  them.  Let  pure  Christianity  govern 
us  in  every  thing,  and  both  give  law  to  us  and  give 
peace  to  us.  Let  faith  be  our  guide  with  relation 
to  another  world,  as  sense  and  reason  are  with  rela- 
tion to  this  world  ;  and  then  wc  shall  be  led  into  the 
paths,  and  brought  under  the  dominion,  of  Christ's 


n  Matt.  ili.  15. 


e  Rom.  iii.  31. 


FROM  FAITH  IN  GOD. 


796 


boir  religion.  If  there  be  any  divine  revelation  in 
the  world,  it  is  in  the  Holy  Seriptare,  on  which 
Christianity  is  built ;  and  there  certainly  it  is,  for 
ire  cannot  think  that  God  has  pat  fallen  mankind 
npon  a  new  trial,  (which  he  has  not  done  for  fallen 
ingels,)  and  ^iven  him  no  new  rule  of  daty  and  ex- 
|)ectation,  accommodated  to  that  state  of  trial.  The 
Scripture,  therefore,  is  that  which  we  are  to  believe, 
0(0  which  we  must  search,  and  on  which  we  must 
mild,  for  that  is  it  that  testifies  of  Christ  Christ 
herefore  is  he  to  whose  conduct  we  must  entirely 
leTote  ourselves,  and  on  the  all-sufficiency  of  whose 
nediation  we  must  rely ;  else  we  are  unworthy  to 
tear  the  name  of  Christians,  and  wear  the  livery  of 
lis  family. 

As  there  is  a  practical  atheism,  which  they  are 
;hargeable  with  who  profess  to  know  God,  but  in 
rorks  deny  him  ;  so  there  is  a  practical  deism,  which 
bey  are  chargeable  with,  who  profess  to  believe  in 
'hrist,  and  yet  have  no  regard  to  his  mediation  be- 
veen  God  and  man :  and  both  the  one  and  the  other 
n  no  less  dangerous  than  the  speculative,  and  so 
Duch  the  worse,  that  they  carry  in  them  a  self-con- 
radiction. 

Let  OS  who  are  ministers  make  it  our  business  to 
idrance  the  honour  of  Christ,  and  to  bring  all  to 
lim ;  as  faithful  friends  of  the  Bridegroom,  who  re- 
w^tgrentlif  to  hear  tke  Brideffroom's  voice ^^  and  to 
erre  his  interests  ;  else  we  do  not  answer  the  cha- 
>cter  we  are  dignified  vrith,  as  ku  ministers. 
Messed  Paul,  though  he  was  a  great  scholar,  deter- 
oined  to  know  nothing  but  Christ  and  him  cruci- 
ed«^  counting  all  but  loss  for  the  excellency  of  that 
Bowledge  •/  and  be  did  as  he  determined,  for  *'  in 
II  his  writings"  (as  one  of  the  ancients  observes) 
*  he  breathes  nothing  but  Christ."  **  Preach  Christ, 
fotber,"  (said  the  famous  Mr.  Perkins,  to  a  young 
unister  who  asked  his  advice,)  '*  preach  Christ, 
mother."  It  is  the  language  of  all  faithful  minis- 
^^T  We  preach  not  ounelvet,  but  Christ  Jenu  the 
^^  end  ourselves  your  servants  for  his  sake,*  It  is 
^  eharacter  of  Christians,  that  they  have  learned 
•hrist  :<  but  how  shall  they  learn  him,  if  their  teach- 
n  do  not  preach  him  ?  The  whole  gospel  centres 
9  Christ ;  in  him  therefore  let  all  our  preaching  cen- 
^e.  Let  us  preach  down  sin  as  an  enemy  to  Christ, 
Qd  that  which  he  died  to  separate  us,  and  so  to  save 
^  from :  let  us  press  duty  with  an  eye  to  Christ,  in 
^pliance  with  him,  and  gratitude  to  him.  Let  us 
'«3cribe  comforts  fetched  from  Christ,  and  founded 
pon  his  mediation.  Do  we  aim  at  the  conversion 
dinners?  Let  us  call  them  to  Christ,  persuade 
lem  to  come  and  take  his  yoke  upon  them,  and  re- 
■trnmend  them  to  him  as  the  best  Master.  Do  we 
'in  at  the  edification  of  saints  ?  Let  us  lead  them 
'^  a  further  acquaintance  with  Christ,  that  they 


fJohniiL«       qICor.il.  2.       r  Phil.  Hi.  8.       .  9  Cor.  iv. 


!>. 


may  grow  up  into  him"  in  all  things,  as  their  Head 
and  Root  Are  we  God's  mouth  to  his  people  ?  Let 
us  do  as  God  did  when  he  spake  from  heaven,  give 
honour  to  Christ,  and  direct  all  to  hear  him.^  Are 
we  their  mouth  to  God  ?  Let  us  offer  up  all  the  spi- 
ritual sacrifices  upon  this  altar,  that  sanctifies  every 
gift  Let  this  golden  thread  run  through  the  whole 
web  of  our  praying  and  preaching ;  and  in  every 
thing  let  precious  Jesus  ever  have  the  pre-eminence. 

Let  us  all,  both  ministers  and  Christians,  make 
Jesus  Christ  all  in  all  to  us ;  to  us  to  live  must  be 
Christ :  and  as  we  have  received  him  by  our  profession 
of  his  name,  we  must  so  walk  in  him ;  and  whatever 
we  do  in  word  or  deed,  do  all  in  his  name,  with  an 
eye  to  his  will  as  our  rule,  and  his  glory  as  our  end, 
depending  upon  him  both  for  strength  and  righte- 
ousness, and  continually  rejoicing  and  glorying  in 
him. 

It  is  to  be  feared,  Acre  are  some  eyen  within  the 
pale  of  the  church,  who  seem  to  have  some  little  re- 
ligion, but  they  forget  Christ,  and  leave  him  out  of 
it  If  we  come  to  talk  with  them  about  their  souls, 
and  their  eternal  salvation,  we  find  they  have  a  re- 
verence for  God,  and  a  sense  of  their  duty  to  him, 
which  they  speak  of  with  some  clearness  and  con- 
cern ;  they  have  right  notions  of  justice  and  charity, 
fidelity,  patience,  and  temperance,  yea,  and  of  devo- 
tion to  God,  and  invocation  of  him ;  and  are  under 
convictions  of  the  necessity  of  these,  for  they  believe 
in  God  :  but  when  we  speak  to  them  also  of  believ- 
ing in  Jesus  Christ,  of  their  coming  to  God  as  a  Fa- 
ther by  him  as  Mediator,  of  the  need  they  have  of 
him  in  every  thing  wherein  they  have  to  do  with 
God,  and  the  constant  dependence  they  ought  to 
have  upon  him,  they  are  ready  to  say,  as  the  people 
did  of  Ezekiel,  Doth  not  he  speak  parables  ?*  This  is 
a  lamentation,  and  shall  be  for  a  lamentation,  that 
among  those  who  are  called  Christians,  there  should 
be  those  found  who  are  strangers  to  Christ,  and  are 
content  to  be  so ;  to  whom  the  Light  of  the  world  is  as 
a  lamp  despised^  and  the  Fountain  of  life  as  a 
broken  cistern ;  and  who  are  ready  to  say  to  Christ, 
Depart  from  «#,  and.  What  can  the  Redeemer  do  for 
iM,  which  we  cannot  do  for  ourselves?  We  pitif  those 
who  never  heard  of  Christ,  whom  this  Day-spring 
from  on  high  never  visited ;  for,  How  shall  they  be- 
lieve in  him  of  whom  they  have  not  heard?  But  we  are 
justly  anyry  at  those  to  whom  the  great  things  of  the 
gospel  are  preached,  and  yet  they  are  accounted  by 
them  as  strange  and  foreign  things,  and  things  that 
they  are  no  way  concerned  in.  It  is  an  amazing 
infatuation,  and  what  we  may  stand  and  wonder  at. 
Be  astonished,  O  heavens,  at  this ! 

(1.)  It  is  strange,  that  any  who  are  baptized,  and 
are  called  Christians,  can  forget  Christ,  and  leave 
him  out  of  their  religion;  surely  they  must  have 


t  Eph.  iv.  90.     II  Eph.  iv  1&.     v  Matt  xvii.  5.     w  Ezek.  xx.  4o. 


toe 


FAITH  IN  CHRIST  INFERRED 


forgot  their  Christian  name,  for  they  have  wretchedly 
forgot  themselyes.  What  ?  a  Christian,  and  yet  a 
stranger  to  Christ!  Aui  nomeHf  aut  mares  mnta — 
Either  change  thy  name,  or  change  thy  ipirit.  Is  not 
the  whole  family,  hoth  in  heaven  and  earth,<  deno- 
minated from  him,  as  having  a  necessary  and  con- 
stant dependence  upon  him  ?  and  yet  he  shall  be  out 
of  mind^  because  for  the  present  he  is  out  of  sight. 
Shall  he  be  made  a  cipher  of,  who  is  to  us  the  only 
figure,  and  who  in  the  upper  world  makes  so  great 
a  figure?  Were  not  we  baptized  into  his  name; 
and  by  our  baptism  entered  into  his  school,  hired 
into  his  family,  and  enlisted  under  his  banner ;  and 
yet  shall  we  set  him  aside,  as  if  we  had  no  occasion 
for  him?  If  circumcision  was  to  the  breakers  of 
the  law  made  uncircumcision,^  shall  not  baptism  be 
nullified,  and  made  no  baptism,  to  the  contemners 
of  the  gospel  ? 

(2.)  It  is  strange,  that  any  who  are  convinced  of 
sin,  and  see  themselves,  as  all  the  world  is,  guilty 
before  God,  can  forget  Christ ;  and  leave  him  out  of 
their  religion,  as  if  they  could  do  well  enough  with- 
out him.  What  ?  a  sinner,  and  yet  make  light  of 
the  Saviour !  A  dying  perishing  sinner,  and  yet 
not  believe  in  him,  whose  errand  into  the  world  was 
to  redeem  us  from  all  iniquity !  Is  the  avenger  of 
blood  in  pursuit  of  us,  and  just  at  our  back,  and 
shall  not  the  city  of  refuge  be  ever  in  our  eye  ?  Can 
we  see  our  misery  and  danger  by  reason  of  sin,  (and 
we  are  shamefully  blind  and  partial  to  ourselves,  if  we 
do  not,)  and  not  be  continually  looking  unto  Jesus, 
the  great  propitiation  ?  Can  we  read  the  curse  of  the 
law  in  force  against  us  ?  can  we  see  the  fire  of  God's 
wrath  ready  to  kindle  upon  us  ?  and  not  be  glad  to 
accept  of  Christ  upon  his  own  terms,  Christ  upon 
any  terms  ? 

(3.)  It  is  strange  that  any  who  desire  to  have  com- 
munion with  God,  to  hear  from  him,  and  speak  to 
him,  and  in  both  to  obtain  his  favour,  should  forget 
Christ,  and  leave  him  out  of  their  religion.  I  hope 
none  I  speak  to  are  of  thosb  who  say  to  the  Almighty, 
Depart  from  iw,  we  desire  not  the  hnowledge  of  thy 
ways ;  but  that  you  will  each  of  you  say,  with  David, 
It  is  good  for  me  to  draw  near  to  God,*  Do  you  in- 
deed think  it  so  ?  Is  that  your  choice  ?  Is  that  your 
delight  ?  Is  this  the  thing  you  labour  after,  and  are 
ambitious  of,  that  whether  present  or  absent  you  may 
be  accepted  of  the  Lord  7*  You  know  not  yourselves, 
you  know  not  your  God,  if  it  be  not :  and  if  it  be, 
how  can  you  expect  to  be  accepted,  but  in  the  Be- 
loved ;^  and  that  the  holy  God  should  be  well  pleas- 
ed with  you  who  are  unholy  creatures,  but  in  and 
through  a  Mediator  ?  It  is  by  his  Son  that  God  does 
in  these  last  days  ^  speak  to  us,  and  it  is  by  him  that 
we  are  to  speak  to  God ;  so  that  we  cannot  with  any 
confidence  approach  to  God,  nor  have  any  comfort- 


s  Eph.  iii.  15.     r  Rom.  il.  35.      i  Ps.  Izziil.  28.      a  2  Cor.  v.  9. 


able  communion  with  him,  out  of  Christ.  If  we 
neglect  him,  we  come  without  our  errand,  and  shall 
be  sent  away  without  an  answer. 

(4.)  It  is  strange,  that  any  who  are  in  care  about 
their  souls  and  another  world,  should  forget  Christ, 
and  leave  him  out  of  their  religion.  Brethren,  you 
see  yourselves  dying  daily,  death  is  working  in  you ; 
and  you  know  that  after  death  is  a  judgment,  which 
will  fix  you  in  an  unchangeable  state  of  happiness 
or  misery  in  perfection  ;  yon  are  standing  upon  the 
brink  of  an  awful  eternity,  and  are  just  ready  to  step 
in ;  now  how  can  you  hope  to  escape  everlasting 
misery,  much  less  to  obtain  everlasting  happiness, 
unless  you  secure  your  interest  in,  and  keep  up  your 
correspondence  with,  him,  to  whom  all  judgment  is 
committed,  who  has  the  keys  of  hell  and  death  in 
his  hand,  and  is  himself  the  resurrection  and  the 
life  ?  Are  we  not  concerned  still  to  make  mention 
of  him,  to  whom  the  Father  has  given  power  over  all 
flesh,  that  he  should  give  eternal  life  to  as  many  as 
were  given  him,<i  and  who  opens  the  kingdom  of 
heaven  to  all  believers.  How  dare  we  venture  into 
another  world,  withoutbeing  fixed  on  this  foundation  ? 
Were  our  eyes  opened,  and  our  consciences  duly 
awakened,  the  very  thoughts  of  dying  and  going  to 
judgment,  would  make  such  a  terror  to  ourselves,  as 
nothing  could  relieve  us  against,  but  a  believing 
sight  of  Christ  sitting  at  the  right  hand  of  God,  ready 
to  receive  the  souls  that  are  in  sincerity  committed 
to  him,  to  redeem  them  from  the  power  of  the  grave, 
and  to  present  them  to  his  Father. 

3.  Let  us  all  make  it  to  appear  in  all  our  devo- 
tions, and  in  our  whole  conversation,  that  we  not 
only  believe  in  God,  but  that  we  believe  also  in  Jesus 
Christ.  Let  our  spirits  be  purely  Christian ;  leaven- 
ed with  the  gospel  of  Christ,  and  partaking  of  its 
relish  and  savour ;  delivered  into  it  as  into  a  mould, 
receiving  its  shape  and  impression,  and  in  every 
thing  conforming  ourselves  to  it  The  poor  are  said 
to  receive  the  gospel  f  they  are  itMi77«X4^ovrfli — evan- 
gelized, so  the  word  is.  What  will  it  avail  us  in  the 
gospel,  to  behold  as  in  a  glass  the  glory  of  the  Lord, 
unless  we  be  changed  into  the  same  image,  and  re- 
flect that  light  which  shines  upon  us,  so  that  all  who 
converse  with  us,  may  take  knowledge  of  us,  that  we 
have  been  with  Jesus,^  and  that  he  dwells  in  our' 
hearts  by  faith. 

Let  Christ  be  our  plea  for  the  pardon  of  sin,  the 
plea  we  always  put  in,  and  firmly  rely  upon ;  let  us 
never  expect  redemption  but  through  his  blood,  even 
the  forgiveness  of  our  sins ;  therefore  we  hope  it  is 
God  who  does  and  will  justify,  because  it  is  Christ 
that  died,  yea  rather  that  is  risen  again ;  and  there- 
fore we  hope  he  will  be  our  advocate  with  the  Fa- 
ther, and  a  righteous,  gracious  advocate  for  us, 
because  he  is  the  propitiation  for  out  sins.     Let  us 

b Eph  i. 6.    c  Heb.  i.  i.   d  John  xvii.  3.   «  Matt.  xi.  5.    f  Acteiv.  13. 


PROM  FAITH  IN  GOD. 


7»7 


make  him  oar  plea,  and  he  will  himself  be  our 
pleader. 

Let  Christ  be  our  peace,  and  onr  peace-maker. 
When  oar  consciences  are  offended  and  quarrel  with 
us,  when  our  hearts  reproach  us,  and  are  ready  to 
coDdemn  us ;  let  the  blood  of  Christ,  by  which  we 
are  reconciled  to  God,  be  effectual  to  reconcile  us 
to  ourselves,  and  let  nothing  else  avail,  or  be  ad- 
mitted to  do  it  What  satisfied  God,  let  that,  and 
that  only,  satisfy  us ;  and  let  that  pacify  our  con- 
sciences which  will  also  purify  them.  Let  him  also 
be  oar  peace  among  ourselves.  Let  all  good  Chris- 
tians, however  differing  in  other  things,  be  one  in 
kim,  as  he  has  prayed  they  may  be :  and  let  him  who 
is  the  centre  of  their  unity,  be  the  powerful  cement 
of  their  affections. 

Let  Christ  be  our  prophet,  and  by  him  let  us  ask 
coansel  of  the  Lord,  Lord,  what  wilt  thou  have  me  to 
do  J*  Let  him  be  our  oracle,  and  by  him  let  us  be 
determined ;  let  the  mind  of  Christ  be  our  mind  in 
every  thing,  and  in  order  to  it  let  his  word  dwell 
richly  in  us.** 

Let  Christ  be  our  priest,  and  into  his  hand  let  us 
pat  all  our  services,  all  our  spiritual  sacrifices,  to  be 
offered  up  to  God,  because  through  him  only  they 
are  acceptable.*  By  this  name  let  us  ever  know  him, 
let  as  ever  own  him.  The  Lord  our  right coutness.^ 

Let  Christ  be  our  pattern ;  let  our  spirits  be  re- 
newed in  conformity  to  his  death  and  resurrection, 
and  let  as  be  so  planted  together  in  the  likeness*  of 
both,  that  it  may  be  truly  said,  Christ  is  formed  in 
us,"  Christ  lives  in  us,°  and  we  are  the  epistles  of 
Christ.*  Let  onr  whole  conversation  be  governed 
in  conformity  to  his  example,  which  he  has  left  us 
on  porpose  tiiat  we  might  follow  his  steps.p  Let  us 
so  bear  about  with  us  continually  the  dying  of  the 
Ix>rd  Jesus,  as  that  the  life  also  of  Jesus  may  be 
manifested  in  our  mortal  hody,^ 

Let  Christ  be  the  beloved  of  our  soul,  and  let  us 
make  it  appear  that  he  is  so,  by  our  delight  in  his 


f  Acts  ix.  e. 

k  Jcr.  xziii.  6. 
■  Gal.  iL  sa 


b  Col.  iil.  16. 
1  Rom.  vi.  5. 
» 2  Cor.  iii.  3. 


i  1  Pet  U.  5. 
m  Gal.  iv.  19. 
P 1  Pet  11.  21. 


presence,  onr  grief  for  his  withdrawings,  our  con- 
stant  care  to  please  him,  and  fear  to  offend  him,  and 
our  diligence  to  approve  ourselves  to  him,  as  one  we 
esteem  and  love.  Let  us  have  such  a  constant 
regard  to  him,  to  his  will  as  our  rule,  and  to  his 
glory  as  our  end,  that  we  may  truly  say.  To  us  to 
live  is  Christ,'  and  to  us  living  and  dying  he  is  gain. 

Let  Christ  be  our  hope,  let  him  be  our  joy ;  and 
let  us  make  it  to  appear  he  is  so,  by  such  a  holy 
cheerfulness  of  spirit,  as  will  be  a  continual  feast 
to  us.  Let  us  see,  let  us  find,  enough  in  Christ  to 
silence  all  onr  fears,  and  to  balance  all  our  griefs, 
and  so  to  keep  us  always  calm  and  easy.  Do  we 
believe  in  God  ?  Do  we  believe  also  in  Jesus  Christ? 
Then  let  not  our  hearts  be  troubled,  whatever  hap- 
pens to  us,  but  let  us  be  kept  in  perfect  peace.' 

Let  Christ  be  our  crown  of  glory,'  and  our  diadem 
of  beauty ;  let  us  value  ourselves  by  our  interest  in 
him,  and  relation  to  him.  At  his  feet  let  all  our 
crowns  be  cast ;  let  boasting  in  ourselves  be  for  ever 
excluded,  and  let  him  that  glories  glory  in  the  Lord, 
in  the  Lord  Jesus. 

Let  Christ  be  our  heaven ;  let  us  reckon  it  one  of 
the  chief  joys  of  glorified  saints  in  the  other  world, 
that  they  are  gathered  to  Christ"  there,  they  see  his 
glory ,^  and  share  in  it,  they  sit  with  him  at  his  table, 
sit  with  him  on  his  throne.  And  let  us  therefore  not 
only  be  willing  to  die  when  God  calls  us,  but  be 
desirous  to  depart  and  to  be  with  Christ,^  to  be  to- 
gether for  ever  vrith  him,  which  will  be  best  of  all. 

To  conclude.  Let  that  be  the  language  of  our 
settled  judgments,  which  a  learned  and  religious 
gentleman  of  the  last  age  took  for  his  motto,  wrote 
in  his  books,  contrived  to  have  continually  before 
him,  and  ordered  to  be  engraven  in  the  rings  given 
at  his  funeral ;  '*  Christ  is  a  Christian's  all."* 
And  let  that  be  the  language  of  our  pious  affection, 
with  which  one  of  the  martyrs  triumphed  in  the 
flames;  *'  None  but  Christ,  none  but  Christ.'' 


4  2  Cor.  iv.  10. 
c  laa.  izvllL  5. 
w  Phil.  1.  23. 


r  Phil.  1.  21.  I  ba.  xxvi.  3. 

n  2The8B.  11.  I.         T  John  xvii.  24. 
•  Judge  Warbuiton. 


A  SERMON, 


CONCERNING   THE 


FORGIVENESS  OF  SIN  AS  A  DEBT, 


PREACHED  IN  LONDON,  JUNE  Ist,  1711, 


Matt.  vi.  12.    And  forgive  tu  our  debti, 

COMPARED   VITB 

Luke  XI.  4.    And  forgive  vs  our  sins. 

From  this  petition  in  the  Lord's  prayer,  thas  dif- 
ferently expressed  by  the  two  evangelists,  we  may 
easily  observe,  (for  prayer  may  preach,  this  prayer 
preaches,) 

I.  That  sin  is  a  debt  to  God  Almighty ;  nay,  it 
becomes  us  to  express  it  with  application,  (for,  so 
such  truths  as  these  look  best,XO«r  sins  are  our  debts. 

II.  That  the  pardon  of  sin  is  the  forgiveness  of 
this  debt,  and  the  discharge  of  the  debtor  from  it : 
and  as  the  former  must  be  thought  of  with  a  peni- 
tent application,  confessing  and  bewailing  our  sins, 
as  our  debts,  so  this  with  a  believing  application. 
This  is  a  pririlege  offered  to  us  in  the  gospel :  O  that 
we  might  partaiie  of  it ! 

Repentance  and  remission  of  sins,  are  the  two 
great  things  which  ministers  are  appointed  to  preach, 
in  Christ's  name,  to  all  nations ;  and  which  Christ 
is  himself  exalted  to  the  right  band  of  the  Father  to 
give,*  else  our  preaching  them  would  be  in  vain.  I 
am  here  this  day  to  preach  them,  depending  upon 
divine  grace  to  give  them ;  as  an  ambassador  for 
Christ,  to  beseech  you,  by  repentance  for  sin,  to  be 
reconciled  to  God,^  th^  by  the  remission  of  sin  he 
may  be  reconciled  to  you.  Brethren,  these  are 
matters  of  life  and  death,  matters  of  everlasting  con- 
cern ;  and  therefore  challenge  your  serious  atten- 
tion. 

Many  of  you  have  a  prospect  of  drawing  nigh  to 
the  Lord,  and  having  communion  with  him  at  his 
table :  and  what  better  service  can  I  do  you,  than 
to  assist  your  repentance  in  your  preparations  for 
that  ordinance,  and  to  assure  you  of  pardon,  upon 


repentance,  in  your  attendance  upon  it?  To  show 
you  sin,  that  in  reflection  upon  it  you  may  sow  in 
tears  ;  and  to  show  you  Christ,  that  in  dependence 
on  him  you  may  reap  in  joy,^  and  by  him  may  have 
your  tears  wiped  away. 

This  similitude,  which  represents  sin  as  a  debt, 
and  the  pardon  of  sin  as  the  forgiving  of  that  debt, 
our  Saviour  often  used :  and  it  is  a  proper  one,  and 
very  significant,  and  I  hope  by  the  blessing  of  God 
may  be  of  use  both  to  let  us  into  the  understanding 
of  this  great  concern,  and  to  affect  us  with  it 

I.  The  sins  we  are  to  repent  of  are  our  debts  to 
God. 

There  is  a  debt  to  God,  which  arises  from  the 
command  of  the  law,  and  we  do  not  pray  to  be  dis- 
charged from  that:  a  debt  of  duty,  which  we  always 
owe,  and  must  be  always  paying  in  the  strength  of 
his  grace ;  a  yoke  so  easy,  that  we  cannot  desire  to 
be  eased  of  it ;  a  service  so  reasonable,  as  that,  if  we 
understand  ourselves  aright,  we  cannot  but  be  rea- 
soned into  it. 

We  are  debtors^  not  to  the  fiesh^  says  the  apostle  ; 
we  are  under  no  obligation  to  serve  it  and  please  it, 
and  make  provision  for  it ;  which  intimates  that  we 
are  debtors  to  God :  that  which  is  said  to  be  our 
duty  to  do,*  is  o  w^cXo/icv  woifioatf  that  which  we  owe 
the  doing  of.  We  owe  adoration  to  God,  as  a  Being 
infinitely  bright,  and  blessed,  and  glorious.  We  owe 
allegiance  to  him  as  our  Sovereign  Lord  and  Ruler. 
We  are  bound  in  honour  and  duty,  in  gratitude  and 
interest,  to  observe  his  statutes,  and  to  keep  his  laws ; 
are  bound  by  all  the  relations  we  stand  in  to  him  as 
our  Creator,  Owner,  and  Benefactor,  to  love  and 
fear  him,  and  under  the  influence  of  those  two  com- 
manding principles,  to  serve  and  obey  him :  and  we 
must  reckon  it  our  happiness,  that  we  arc  thas 
obliged,  and  labour  to  be  more  and  more  sensible  of 
the  obligations.     The  loosing  of  our  other  bonds 


a  Luke  xxiv.  47.  Acts  ▼.  31. 


b  S  Cor.  V.  90. 


c  Ps.  cxxvl.  5,  6. 


d  Rom.  viii.  13. 


•  Lxike  xvii.  10. 


A  SERMON  ON  FORGIVENESS  OF  SIN. 


•78^ 


strengthens  these ;  so  the  Psalmist  thoaght,  when 
in  consideration  thereof  he  said,  O  Lord,  truly  lam 
tiff  servanif  I  am  thy  servtmif  for  thoa  hast  loosed  my 

There  is  likewise  a  debt  we  owe  to  one  another, 
vhich  we  must  not  pray  to  be  discharged  from,  but 
alirajs  liept  under  the  bonds  of,  and  that  is,  bro- 
therly love.  When  we  are  commanded  to  render  to 
all  their  dae,  so  as  to  owe  no  man  any  thing ;  yet 
¥e  are  told  we  most  still  owe  this,  to  love  one  an- 
others  which  when  we  do  we  pay  a  just  debt,  and 
jet  must  still  abound  more  and  more.^ 

There  isadebt  to  God,  which  arises  from  the  curse 
and  condemnation  of  the  law,  which  we  are  fallen 
vnder,  by  our  breach  of  the  command  of  the  law ; 
aod  this  is  that  which  we  here  pray  to  be  discharged 
from:  the  debt  of  punishment,  that  death  which  we 
are  told  is  the  wages  of  tin,^  It  is  a  penal  bond,  by 
vhich  we  are  obliged  to  our  dnty ;  so  that  for  non- 
performance of  the  duty  we  become  liable  to  the 
penalty:  and  thus  our  sins  are  our  debts ;  and  being 
all  sinners,  we  are  all  debtors.  Know  then  that  the 
Lord  has  a  controversy  ^  with  you,  an  action  against 
ym,  an  action  of  debt,  wherein — ^in  his  name— I 
here  arrest  yon  all,  pursuant  to  the  great  intention 
of  the  Spirit,  which  is  to  convince  the  world  of  sin,^ 
to  charge  men  with  a  debt  to  God,  and  to  prove  it 
opon  them. 

In  prosecution  of  this,  I  shall  endeavour  to  show, 

1.  How  we  come  to  be  in  debt  to  God,  how  this 
debt  is  contracted,  and  what  is  the  g^ond  of  the 
action.  That  I  may  keep  to  the  comparison,  not 
forcing  it,  but  fairly  following  it,  you  shall  see  that 
ve  ran  in  debt  to  God,  as  the  children  of  men  run 
in  debt  to  one  another. 

(I.)  We  are  in  debt  to  God,  as  a  servant  u  indebt-- 
td  to  kis  master,  when  he  has  neglected  his  business, 
ud  wasted  or  embezzled  his  goods.  Our  Saviour 
represents  our  case  like  that  of  a  servant  to  a  king, 
vho  when  he  came  to  be  reckoned  with,  (probably 
tbe  revenues  of  the  crown  passing  through  his  hands,) 
vas  foand  in  debt  to  the  king  his  master  ten  tkou^ 
<W  telents  ;■  and  that  of  a  steward  who  was  accused 
hkis  lord  thai  he  had  wasted  his  goods,*  either  through 
^oth  and  negligence,  not  taking  the  care  and  pains 
^^t  them,  that  by  the  duty  of  his  place  he  ought  to 
bve  done ;  or  through  dishonesty,  converting  them 
to  other  uses  than  they  were  intended  for,  and  serv- 
iD*:  himself  with  them. 

We  are  servants  to  God,  and  have  work  to  do  for 
^  advancing  of  the  interest  of  his  glory  and  king- 
dtimin  the  world,  and  incur  own  hearts.  This  work 
is  Qodone ;  we  have  stood  all  the  day  idle,  and  have 
done  nothing,  or  next  to  nothing,  of  the  great  work 
ve  were  sent  into  the  world  about ;  nothing  to  answer 


f  P».  cxTt  la. 

I  Bom.  Ti.  13. 
a  MaU.  xTlii.  M. 


ff  RoiD.xUI.8. 

k  Mic.  vf.  % 

a  Luke  %fi,  1. 


h  1  TheBB.  iv.  I. 

1  John  xvl.  1. 

•  Matt.  sxT.  26, 30. 


the  ends  of  our  creation  and  redemption,  and  in  pur- 
suance of  the  intentions  of  our  birth  and  baptism ; 
and  so  we  become  to  be  in  debt,  and  deserve,  not 
only  to  have  our  wages  stopt,  but  to  lie  under  the 
doom  of  the  unprofitable  servant,  who  is  therefore 
called  wiched,  because  slothful.* 

We  have  been  intrusted  with  talents,?  which  were 
put  into  our  hands  with  this  charge,  trade  till  I  come; 
make  use  of  them  in  your  Master's  senrice,  and  for 
his  honour:  but  we  have  not  improved  these  talents 
for  the  end  for  which  we  have  been  intrusted  with 
them,  we  have  hid  our  Lord's  money,  have  buried 
our  talent,  and  so  we  come  to  be  indebted.  Time  is 
a  talent,  it  ought  to  have  been  filled  up  with  doty  ; 
but  we  have  mispent  it,  and  trified  it  away,  and  have 
not  done  the  work  of  each  day  in  its  day,  according 
as  the  duty  of  the  day  required :  we  are  therefore  so 
much  in  debt  for  lost  time,  time  that  can  never  be 
recalled.  Opportunity  is  a  talent,  time  fitted  for 
the  doing  of  that  which  will  not  be  done  at  all,  or 
not  so  well  done  another  time.  The  time  of  youth, 
sabbath-time,  the  seasons  of  grace-— the  minutes  of 
these  are  in  a  particular  manner  precious ;  but  we 
have  not  improved  these;  we  have  received  the 
grace  of  God  in  them  in  vain,  have  had  many  a 
price  put  into  our  hands  to  get  wisdom,^  which  for  want 
of  a  heart,  a  heart  at  the  right  hand,  for  want  of  skill, 
and  will,  and  courage,  we  have  not  made  the  right 
use  of.  Our  reason  is  a  talent,  with  all  its  powers 
and  faculties,  which  should  have  been  employed  in 
honouring  God,  but  has  been  so  wretchedly  misem- 
ployed, that  the  world  hy  wisdom  (reason  doing  its 
best,  as  it  thought)  hnew  not  God,  Our  limbs  and 
senses,  our  bodily  health  and  strength,  are  talents ; 
for  it  is  designed  we  should  glorify  God  with  our 
bodies  i'  but  the  members  of  our  bodies  have  been 
instruments  of  unrighteousness  *  to  his  dishonour ; 
and  for  this  abuse  of  them  we  are  indebted.  What 
estate  we  have  in  the  world,  what  interest  we  have 
in  others,  or  influence  upon  them,  is  a  talent,  puts 
us  in  a  capacity  of  serving  God,  and  doing  good. 
But  have  we  done  so  ?  No,  we  have  all  come  short, 
far  short  of  the  glory  of  God,  have  come  short  of 
glorifying  him,  and  therefore  deserve  to  come  short 
of  being  glorified  with  him.* 

We  are  stewards  of  the  manifold  grace  of  God :" 
a  good  stewardship  it  is,  an  honourable  place,  and 
very  profitable.  But  have  we  been  good  stewards? 
It  is  required  of  stewards  that  they  he  faithful  f  but 
when  instead  of  living  to  God,  and  doing  all  to  his 
glory,  we  live  to  ourselves,^  eat  and  drink  to  our- 
selves, when  self  in  every  thing  must  be  gratified, 
and  self  glorified,  and  our  own  things  sought  more 
than  the  things  of  Christ,'  then,  like  unfaithful  stew- 
ards, we  convert  that  to  our  own  use  which  should 


P  Luke  six.  13. 
•  Rom.  Ti.  10. 
»  I  Cor.  iv.  a. 


q  ProT,  xvii.  16. 
t  Rom.  lii.  23. 
V  Zech.  vii.  6. 


r  1  Cor.  vi.  SO. 
n  1  Pet.  iv.  10. 
«  Phil.  ii.  ai. 


702 


FAITH  IN  CHRIST  INFERRED 


dtty,p  So  that,  in  short,  if  we  believe  that  there  is 
such  a  thing  as  a  divine  revelation,  that  God  has 
made  a  discovery  of  himself,  and  of  his  will  and  grace, 
to  the  children  of  men,  we  must  believe  the  gospel, 
and  the  testimony  it  bears,  God  has  sent  his  son  into 
the  world f  not  to  condemn  the  worlds  but  that  the  world 
through  him  might  have  righteoasness  and  life. 

5.  If  we  rightly  apprehend  how  matters  stand  be- 
tween God  and  man  since  the  fall,  as  those  must  do 
who  believe  in  God,  who  believe  his  holiness  and 
justice,  and  his  relations  to  man,  we  shall  readily 
receive  the  notice  which  the  gospel  gives  us  of  a 
Mediator  between  God  and  man ;  not  only  because 
we  shall  soon  perceive  how  desirable  it  is  that  there 
should  be  such  a  Mediator,  (and  we  are  easily 
brought  to  believe  what  is  for  our  honour  and  ad- 
vantage, quod  volumus  facile  credimus—^what  we  wish 
we  easily  believe^)  but  because  we  shall  perceive, 
likewise,  how  probable  it  is  that  a  God  of  infinite 
grace  and  mercy  should  appoint  such  a  Mediator, 
and  make  him  known  to  us.  It  is  a  great  confirm- 
ation of  the  truth  of  the  Christian  religion,  that  it 
not  only  agrees  with,  and  is  a  ratification  of,  the 
principles  and  laws  of  natural  religion,  and  is  an 
improvement  and  advancement  of  them,  but  that  it 
supplies  the  deficiencies  of  it ;  it  takes  us  up  and 
helps  us  out,  where  that  fails  us  and  leaves  us  at  a 
loss.  So  that  if  we  make  just  reflections  upon  our- 
selves, and  our  own  case  as  it  appears  to  us  by  the 
light  of  nature,  there  cannot  but  be  a  disposition  in^ 
us  to  receive  and  embrace  the  gospel,  and  to  enter- 
tain it  not  only  as  a  faithful  saying,  but  as  well 
worthy  of  all  acceptation,  that  Christ  Jesus  came 
into  the  world  to  save  sinners.  If  wc  rightly  believe 
in  God,  and  withal  rightly  understand  ourselves, 
we  cannot  but  perceive  our  case  to  be  such  as  calls 
for  the  interposition  of  a  Mediator  between  us  and 
God ;  and  we  are  undone  if  there  be  no  such  a  one; 
and  we  will  therefore  cheerfully  receive  him. 

(I.)  We  cannot  but  perceive  that  man  has  in  a 
great  measure  lost  the  knowledge  of  God,  and  there- 
fore should  gladly  believe  in  him  who  has  revealed 
him  to  us.  It  is  certainly  the  greatest  satisfaction 
and  best  entertainment  to  our  intellectual  powers, 
to  know  God  the  author  and  felicity  of  our  beings. 
The  understanding  of  man  cannot  rest  short  of  this 
knowledge ;  but  we  find  that  by  the  entrance  of  sin, 
our  understandings  are  darkened,*!  and  the  children 
of  men  are  generally  alienated  from  the  divine  light 
and  life,  through  the  ignorance  that  is  in  them,  be- 
cause of  the  blindness  of  their  heart :  The  world  by 
wisdom  hnew  not  God/  and  the  things  of  God  SLte  fool- 
ishness to  the  natural  man.*  Are  we  sensible  of  this 
as  our  misery,  that  we  cannot  by  any  researches  of 
our  own  come  to  such  a  knowledge  of  God,  as  is 
necessary  to  our  communion  with  him  ?    If  we  are 


P  Acts  ziif.  37. 
■  1  Cot.  ii.  94. 


q  Eph.  i.  1& 
t  I  John  i.  la. 


T  1  Cor.  i.  31. 
a  John  i.  0. 


so,  we  shall  readily  embrace  Christ  as  a  prophet, 
who  having  lain  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father  from 
eternity,  has  declared  him  <  to  the  children  of  men, 
and  has  brought  into  this  dark  world  the  light  of 
the  knowledge  of  this  glory,  with  such  convincing 
evidences  of  a  divine  truth,  and  such  endearing  in- 
stances of  a  divine  grace  and  love  in  this  light,  as 
are  abundantly  suflRcient  both  to  captivate  the  un- 
derstanding and  engage  the  afiections.  This  is  the 
true  light,  which  is  sufficient  to  (t^Af^n  every  man  thai 
Cometh  into  this  world^^  and  to  direct  him  through  it 
to  a  better  world.  And  shall  we  not  open  our  eyes 
to  such  a  light?  Can  we  be  such  strangers,  such 
enemies,  to  ourselves,  and  our  own  interests,  as  to 
love  darkness  rather  than  this  light  ? " 

(2.)  We  cannot  but  perceive,  that  there  is  an  in- 
finite distance  between  God  and  man,  and  therefore 
should  gladly  believe  in  one,  in  whose  person  the 
divine  and  human  natures  are  wonderfully  united. 
Tib  light  of  nature  shows  us  the  glory  of  a  God 
abov^  us  ;  as  heaven  is  high  above  the  earthy  so  are 
his  thoughts  and  ways  above  ours:  whence  we  are 
tempted  to  infer,  that  there  is  no  having  any  com- 
munion with  him,  that  he  is  not  conversable  with 
us,  and  that  we  cannot  expect  that  he  should  take 
any  cognizance  of  us.  Shall  we  not  therefore  wel- 
come the  tidings  of  a  Mediator  between  Qod  and 
man,  even  the  Man  Christ  Jesus  ?  Shall  we  not  be 
glad  to  hoar,  that  this  God  above  us  is,  in  Christ, 
Immanuel,  God  with  u«,*  God  in  our  nature,  God 
manifested  in  t/ie  flesh ;  the  Eternal  Word  incarnate, 
which  will  facilitate  our  communion  with  God,  and 
represent  it  to  us  as  a  thing  possible  ?  When  we  look 
upon  God  as  the  almighty  Creator  and  Sovereign  of 
the  world,  a  being  of  infinite  perfection  and  blessed- 
ness, we  are  tempted  to  say.  Will  this  God  in  very 
deed  dwell  with  men,  with  mean  and  sinful  worms, 
on  the  earth  ?  But  when  we  look  upon  the  Son  of 
God  clothed  with  a  body,  and  visiting  in  g^eat  hu- 
mility this  remote  comer  of  the  universe,  which  God 
has  let  out  to  the  children  of  men,  as  a  vineyard  to 
unthankful  husbandmen,  we  are  encouraged  to 
say  with  triumph.  Behold  the  tabernacle  of  God  is 
with  men,  and  his  sanctuary  in  the  midst  of  them  for 
evermore,^  We  are  quite  lost  in  our  thoughts,  when 
we  come  to  meditate  seriously  on  the  divine  perfec- 
tions, for  they  are  an  unfathomable  depth,  which  we 
cannot  find  out,  concerning  which  we  cannot  order 
our  speech  by  reason  of  darkness ;  If  a  man  speah, 
surely  he  shall  be  swallowed  up :'  but  when  we  come 
with  an  eye  of  faith  to  see  the  Father  in  Christ,  who 
is  both  God  and  man,  and  are  brought  by  faith  to 
Jesus  the  Mediator  of  the  new  covenant,  and  through 
him  to  God  the  Judge  of  all,'  this  makes  his  glory 
the  more  intelligible,  (he  that  hath  seen  me,  says 
Christ,  hath  seen  the  Father,)  his  example  the  more 

T  John  ill.  19.        w  Blatt.  i.  3a       >  Ezek.  xxxvii.  38,  -27. 
T  Job  xxzvil.  30.  «  Heb.  z.ii.  33,  m. 


FORGIVENESS  OF  SIN. 


601 


life,  and  come  to  ask,  What  honour  and  what  dignity 
kctk  been  done  ^  to  oar  great  Benefactor  for  all  this ; 
we  find  oar  returns  of  doty  and  thankfulness  no  way 
answerable  to  oar  receivings  of  mercy,  and  so  we 
become  to  be  in  debt 

This  debt  is  still  the  greater,  in  that  we  have 
made  not  only  poor  returns,  bot  ill  returns,  to  the 
God  of  our  mercies :  he  has  nourished  and  brought 
ns  up  as  children,  and  yet  we  have  rebelled  against 
bim ;  >  he  has  loaded  us  with  benefits,  and  yet  we 
bave  loaded  him  with  our  iniquities :  thus  have  we 
requited  the  Lord,  like  foolish  people  and  unwise."* 
Mach  of  our  debt  is  contracted  by  the  most  base  in- 
i;Tatitade  imaginable  to  the  best  of  friends,  the  best 
of  fathers  ;  and  if  you  call  a  man  ungrateful,  you 
can  call  him  no  worse. 

(4.)  Oar  debt  to  God  is,  a$  the  debt  of  a  trespasser 
to  him  upon  whom  he  has  trespassed.  Our  sins,  which 
are  here  in  the  Lord's  prayer  called,  ovr  debts,  in  the 
verses  following  are  called  wapairrwfuira— our  tres- 
passes," and  thence  we  commonly  use  that  word,  in 
repeating  the  Lord's  prayer.  An  action  of  damage 
dilTersi  not  much  from  an  action  of  debt,  and  this  ac- 
tion lies  against  us  as  sinners. 

We  have  broken  through  the  fences  and  bounds 
which  God  by  his  commands  has  set  us,  and  by 
vhich  our  appetites  and  passions  should  have  been 
restrained  and  kept  within  compass  ;  and  so  we  are 
trespassers  in  debt  to  God,  for  trampling  his  law 
under  foot,  and  his  authority,  as  if  we  were  resolved 
to  be  like  our  forefathers  at  Babel,  from  whom 
nothing  would  be  restrained  that  they  imagined  to  do.^ 

Nay,  we  have  broken  in  upon  God's  rights,  have 
invaded  bis  prerogatives,  by  taking  that  praise  to 
ourselves  which  is  due  to  him  only.  We  have  gone 
upon  forbidden  ground,  and  like  our  first  parents 
have  eaten  the  fruit  of  the  forbidden  tree,  by  enrich- 
ing ourselves  with  unlawful  gains,  and  indulging 
ourselves  in  unlawful  pleasures,  meddling  with  that 
of  which  the  Lord  our  God  has  said.  Ye  shall  not 
ent  of  it, 9  neither  shall  ye  touch  it.  By  presuming  on 
comforts  which  we  were  not  entitled  to,  we  become 
trespassers ;  as  he  was  that  intruded  into  the  wed- 
ding'feast,  not  having  on  a  wedding-garment: 
Friend,  how  earnest  thou  hither  .^ 

By  those  trespasses  upon  the  divine  authority,  we 
have  injured  God,  have  injured  him  in  his  honour. 
(And  the  creature  cannot  otherwise  be  injurious  to 
the  Creator  but  in  his  honour ;  If  thou  sinnest,  what 
dost  tkoM  against  kirn?)'  By  this,  we  are  indebted 
to  bim ;  satisfaction  is  demanded  for  the  injury : 
for  Shall  a  man  rob  God,*  and  never  be  called  to  an 
ac<^fMintfor  it?  trespass  upon  him,  impeach  his  ho- 
nour, and  invade  his  property,  and  never  hear  of  it? 

(6.)  Oar  debt  to  God  is  as  the  debt  of  a  covenant 


k  Est.  vi.  3.  I  IHL  1. 3. 

«  Matt  Ti.  15. 
r  Gen.  ii.  7. 

3   F 


m  Deat  zxxii.  0. 
o  Gen.  zi.  6. 
q  Matt,  xxii  12. 


breaker,  who  entered  into  articles,  and  gave  bond  for 
performance,  but  has  not  made  good  his  agreement, 
and  so  has  forfeited  the  penalty  of  the  bond,  which 
is  recoverable  as  far  as  the  damage  goes,  by  the 
non-performance  of  the  articles.  An  oath  is  called 
a  "  Bond  upon  the  soul,"  because  it  was  commonly 
made  with  an  imprecation  of  evil,  if  the  promise 
was  not  performed ;  so  that  he  who  broke  his  pro- 
mise so  ratified,  could  not  but  feel  himself  under 
the  burthen  of  his  own  curse. 

This  is  our  case ;  we  are  bound  out  from  all  sin, 
and  bound  up  to  all  duty,  not  only  by  the  bond  of 
a  command,  but  by  the  bond  of  a  covenant,  to  which 
we  have  ourselves  subscribed  with  the  hand;  we 
have  by  solemn  promise  engaged  ourselves  to  be  the 
Lord's,  to  walk  in  his  ways,  and  to  keep  his  statutes  ;* 
our  baptism  was  an  early  and  lasting  obligation 
upon  us  to  be  religious :  but  we  have  broken  our 
covenant  with  God,  have  violated  our  engagements, 
and  thereby  have  not  only  forfeited  the  blessings  of 
the  covenant,  but  made  ourselves  obnoxious  to  the 
curses  of  it ;  and  so  we  are  in  debt  to  God,  as  they 
were  who  transgressed  the  covenant  which  they  made 
before  God  when  they  cut  the  calf  in  twain ,"  wish- 
ing that  they  might  so  be  cut  asunder,  if  they  did 
not  deal  faithfully.  This  is  assigned  as  the  ground 
of  God's  controversy  with  the  world  of  mankind, 
and  for  which  they  are  all  laid  under  the  arrest  of 
his  curse ;  they  have  changed  the  ordinance,  and  bro- 
hen  the  everlasting  covenant,  therefore  hath  the  curse 
devoured  the  earth,'' 

(6.)  Our  debt  to  God  is  as  the  debt  of  a  malefactor, 
to  the  law  and  to  the  government,  when  he  is  found 
guilty  of  treason  or  felony,  and  consequently  the  law 
is  to  have  its  course  against  him.  And  this  is  the 
most  proper  notion  of  the  debt  of  sin ;  for  though 
our  Saviour  in  his  parables  alludes  to  money-debts, 
yet  the  case  between  God  and  man  is  not  as  that 
between  debtor  and  creditor  in  commerce :  for  God 
is  our  Sovereign,  and  we  are  his  subjects ;  he  is  our 
Law-giver,  and  we  are  bound  by  his  laws.  The  pri- 
mary obligation  is  the  command  of  the  law,  *to  obey 
that;  which  if  we  fail  in,  we  fail  under  a  secondary 
obligation  to  the  curse  of  the  law  ;  and  therefore  as 
many  as  being  sinners  are  under  the  law,  are  under 
the  curse,  for  so  it  is  written,  Cursed  is  every  one,  that 
continues  not  in  every  thing  that  is  written  in  the  booh 
of  the  law  to  do  it.^  But  God  knows,  and  our  own 
hearts  know,  that  we  have  not  continued,  no  not  in 
any  thing ;  we  are  all  guilty  before  God,'  subject  to 
his  judgment.  The  Scripture  hath  concluded  us  all 
under  sin  ;  shuts  us  up  as  debtors  and  criminals  are 
shut  up  in  prison,  that  the  law  may  have  its  course. 

Wc  have  all  broken  the  commands  of  the  law, 
and  so  are  become  liable  to  the  sentence  of  it.  The 


T  Job  xxxT.  e.        •  Mai. 
«  Jcr.  xxxiv.  18. 
w  Gal.  iii.  lo. 


iit.  8.       t  Deut.  xxvl.  17. 
V  Isa.  xxlv.  %  A. 
X  Rom.  Iii.  19. 


802 


A  SERMON  ON 


soul  that  tins  shall  die;*  shall  die,  as  a  soul  can  die; 
shall  be  made  completely  miserable.  Our  blessed- 
ness is  forfeited,  as  the  life,  honour,  and  estate  of  a 
traitor  is  to  the  public  justice,  to  which  he  is  thus 
to  make  the  uttermost  satisfaction  he  is  capable  of 
making:  the  case  is  ours,  and  a  deplorable  case  it 
is.  As  the  corruption  of  our  nature  makes  us  odious 
to  God's  holiness,  so  our  many  actual  transgressions 
make  us  obnoxious  to  his  justice ;  and  thus  we  are 
debtors  to  him. 

(7.)  To  make  the  matter  yet  worse,  there  is  a  debt 
we  owe  to  God,  which  is  as  a  debt  of  an  heir^t-law 
upon  his  ancestor's  account^  of  a  son  who  is  liable 
to  his  father's  debts,  as  far  as  what  he  has  by  descent 
will  go,  and  as  far  as  he  has  any  assets  in  his  hand. 
By  Adam's  disobedience  we  were  all  made  sinners,* 
were  all  made  debtors ;  and  laid  under  this  charge* 
That  we  are  a  seed  of  evil  doers. 

The  human  nature  comes  to  us  by  descent  from 
our  first  parents,  and  it  comes  to  us  not  only  dis- 
tempered but  attainted  by  law ;  as  the  blood  of  a 
traitor  is  corrupted  by  his  attainder.  When  those 
are  under  the  dominion  of  death  who  yet  never 
sinned  after  the  similitude  of  Adam's  transgression,^ 
and  God  visits  the  iniquity  of  the  fathers  upon  the 
children,  we  must  own  ourselves  indebted  on  the 
score  of  those  who  are  gone  before  us. 

(8.)  There  are  debts  of  ours,  likewise,  which  are 
as  the  debt  of  a  surety  upon  account  of  the  principal, 
I  mean  the  guilt  we  have  contracted  by  our  partak- 
ing of  other  men's  sins,'  and  making  ourselves 
accessary  to  them,  as  if  we  had  not  had  guilt  enough 
of  our  own  to  answer  for. 

We  have,  by  the  influence  of  our  example,  by 
advice  or  encouragement,  by  contributing  to  their 
temptations,  or  exciting  their  corruptions,  or  by  a 
consent'  and  approbation  ex  post  facto— ^fter  the 
deed  has  been  done,  made  ourselves  partners  with 
others  in  sin,  and  have  had  fellowship  with  the  un- 
fruitful worhs  of  darhnesSf  which  we  should  rather 
have  reproved;  and  so  must  answer  not  only  for  our 
doings,'  but  for  the  fruit  of  our  doings. 

Having  opened  to  you  the  several  ways  how  we 
come  into  this  debt  to  God,  let  us  next  inquire,  what 
kind  of  debt  sin  is. 

(1.)  It  is  an  old  debt,  it  is  an  early,  nay,  it  is  an 
hereditary,  encumbrance  upon  our  nature.  The  foun- 
dation of  this  debt  was  laid  in  Adam's  sin,  we  are 
in  debt  for  the  forbidden  fruit  he  ate,  so  high  does 
the  account  begin,  and  so  far  back  does  it  look. 
We  were  bom  in  debt,  were  called,  and  not  mis- 
called, Transgressors  from  the  womb,^  debtors  from 
the  womb  ;  we  began  betimes  to  go  astray  from  God, 
and  so  to  run  further  and  further  into  debt :  it  has 
been  long  in  the  contracting,  and  continual  additions 
have  been  made  to  it,  by  renewed  acts  of  rebellion 

s  Ezra  xvili.  4.     &  Rom.  v.  19.     b  Rom.  ?.  14.     c  i  Tim.  v.  32. 
d  Isa.  xWiil.  s.         *  Job  xiii.  26.         f  Jer.  xxxi.  IB. 


against  God.  Job  when  he  is  old  is  made  to  possess 
the  iniquities  of  his  youth,  and  Ephraim  heart  the 
reproach  of  his  youth, ^  And  how  earnestly  does 
David  pray,  O  remember  not  the  sins  of  my  youth  J 

(2.)  It  is  B.just  debt,  and  the  demand  of  it  highly 
equitable.  We  cannot  say  that  we  are  charged  with 
more  than  is  meet  ;^  no,  how  high  soever  the  penalty 
is  with  which  we  are  loaded,  certainly  it  is  less  than 
our  iniquities  have  deserved.*  It  is  divine  justice, 
the  eternal  rule  and  fountain  of  justice,  tliat  charges 
us  with  this  debt,  and  brings  this  action  against  us ; 
and  we  are  sure  that  the  judgment  of  God  is  accord- 
ing to  truth ;  nor  is  he  unrighteous  who  takes  ven- 
geance.^ 

(3.)  It  is  a  great  debt,  more  than  we  imagine.  It 
is  represented  by  our  Saviour  as  a  debt  of  ten  thou- 
sand  talents.*  In  the  computation  of  money,  a 
talent  is  the  highest  denomination,  it  amounts  to 
above  187  pounds  of  our  money ;  multiply  that  by 
ten  thousand,  and  what  an  immense  sum  does  it 
come  to.  This  is  designed  to  show  us  what  a  great 
deal  of  malignity  there  is  in  every  sin,  how  heinous 
it  is  in  its  own  nature,  it  runs  us  a  talent  in  debt ; 
and  withal  how  numerous  our  sins  are,  how  many, 
how  very  many,  our  actual  transgressions,  they  are 
ten  thousands,  more  than  the  hairs  on  our  heads. 
Well  might  the  master  say  to  that  servant,  when  be 
upbraided  him  with  his  pardon,  /  forgave  thee  thai 
great  debt, 

(4.)  It  \B  a  growing  debt;  a  debt  we  are  still  adding 
to,  as  a  tenant  who  is  behind  of  his  rent,  every  rent* 
stage  makes  the  debt  more :  till  we  return  by  repent- 
ance,  wn  are  still  running  further  upjn  the  s<K>re ; 
still  taking  up  upon  trust,  and  treasuring  up  unto 
ourselves  guilt  and  wrath  against  the  day  of  wiatb.™ 

3.  Having  seen  what  kind  of  debt  sin  is,  let  us 
next  see  what  kind  of  debtors  sinners  commonly 
are ;  and  we  shall  find  them  like  other  unfortunate 
debtors,  that  are  going  down  in  the  world,  and  bave 
no  way  to  help  themselves. 

(1.)  Bad  debtors  are  oftentimes  very  careless  and 
unconcerned  about  their  debts ;  when  they  are  so 
embarrassed  and  plunged  that  they  cannot  hear  the 
thought  of  it,  they  contrive  how  to  banish  the  thought 
of  it,  and  live  merry  and  secure ;  to  laugh  away,  and 
drink  away,  and  revel  away  the  care  and  sorrow  of 
it.  Thus  sinners  deal  with  their  convictions,  tbey 
divert  them  with  the^ business  of  the  world,  or  drown 
them  in  the  pleasures  of  sense.  Cain  endeavonred 
to  shake  off  the  terrors  of  conscience,  by  building  a 
city."  It  was  once  said  of  one  who  died  over  head 
and  ears  in  debt,  "  Surely  his  pillow  had  some  ex- 
traordinary virtue  in  it  to  dispose  a  man  to  rest,  else 
one  in  that  condition  could  not  repose  himself  upon 
it."  One  would  wonder  what  pillows  sinners  lay 
their  heads  on,  who  have  been  so  long  in  debt,  who 


r  Ps.  XXV.  7.     h  Job  xxxiv.  83.     i  Job  xi.  6.     k  Rom.  ii.  2,  a,  s^ 
1  Matt,  xviii.  94.  m  Rom.  ii.  5.  »  Gen.  iv.  17. 


FORGIVENESS  OF  SIN. 


803 


are  so  deep  in  debt  to  the  jastice  of  God,  and  never 
Jaj  it  to  heart,  nor  inquire  into  the  things  which  be- 
long to  their  peace.  O  what  mnltitudcs  of  precious 
soals  are  lost,  and  perish  for  ever,  through  mere  care- 
lessness ! 

(2.)  Bad  debtors  are  commonly  very  wasteful^  and 
when  they  find  they  are  in  debt  more  than  they  can 
pay,  care  not  bow  much  further  they  run  into  debt. 
How  extravagant  are  sinners  in  spending  upon  their 
lasts!  What  waste  do  they  make  of  their  time  and 
opportunity,  and  of  the  noble  powers  and  faculties 
with  which  they  are  endued !  like  the  prodigal  son, 
irho,  when  he  was  run  away  from  his  father's  house 
into  a  far  country,  there  wasted  his  substance  with 
riotoQS  living.  So  true  is  that  of  Solomon,  One  ein- 
ntr  destroys  much  good^**  with  which  he  might  honour 
God,  and  do  service  to  his  generation;  and  runs 
tfaroDgb  » great  deal  of  valuable  treasure. 

(3.)  Bad  debtors  are  commonly  very  shy  of  their 
creditors,  and  very  loth  to  come  to  an  account  Thus 
sinners  care  not  how  little  they  come  into  the  pre- 
sence of  God,  but  rather  say  to  the  Almighty,  Depart 
from  Ks ;  they  take  no  pleasure  in  hearing  from  him, 
in  speaking  to  him,  or  in  having  any  thing  to  do 
with  him ;  they  desire  not  the  knowledge  of  his  good 
ways,  lest  thereby  they  should  come  to  the  sight  of 
their  own  evil  ways.  They  are  shy  of  communion  with 
their  own  hearts,  and  looking  into  their  consciences, 
becaase  they  are  not  willing  to  know  the  worst 
by  themselves.  God  hearkens  and  hears,  but  they 
speak  not  aright ;'  they  do  not  take  the  first  step 
toward  repentance  and  conversion,  for  they  make 
no  serious  reflections  upon  themselves,  they  never 
ask.  What  have  I  done  ?  But  the  case  of  those  trades- 
men is  justly  suspected,  who  are  strangers  to  their 
hooks,  and  are  afraid  of  knowing  what  posture  their 
affairs  are  in. 

(4.)  Bad  debtors  are  sometimes  timorous  ;  and 
tboogh  they  strive  to  cast  off  all  care  about  their 
debts,  yet,  when  they  are  threatened,  their  hearts 
fail  them,  they  are  subject  to  frights,  and  are  ready 
to  think  every  one  they  meet  is  a  bailiff.  Thus  sin- 
ners carry  about  with  them  a  misgiving  conscience, 
vhich  often  reproaches  them,  and  fills  them  with 
secret  terrors,  and  a  bitterness  which  their  own  heart 
only  knows.  When  Cain  was  under  an  arrest  for 
that  threat  debt  he  contracted  by  the  murder  of  his 
brother,  what  a  terror  was  he  to  himself,  crying  out, 
My  punishment  i»  greater  than  lean  bear,'^  though  it 
was  much  less  than  he  deserved.  When  Herod 
heard  of  Christ's  miracles,  he  presently  cried  out, 
his  John  the  Baptist  whom  I  beheaded,  he  is  certainly 
risen  from  the  dead.  The  wicked  are  sometimes 
made  to  flee  where  no  fear  is,  much  more  where  there 
is  fear. 
(d.)  Bad  debtors  are  apt  to  be  dilatory  and  deceit- 


o  EccL  Ijl  18. 
rHag.i.  a. 


p  Jer.  viii.  & 

•  Matt  zvill.  29. 

3  p2 


q  Oen.  ir.  13. 
t  Ps.  1. 31. 


/«/,  to  promise  payment  this  time  and  the  other,  but 
still  to  break  their  word,  and  beg  a  further  delay. 
It  is  so  with  sinners ;  they  do  not  say  they  will  never 
repent,  and  return  to  God,  but  not  yet:  The  time  is 
not  come,  the  time  that  the  Lord's  house  should  be  built,' 
but  they  will  assure  you,  that  some  time  or  other  it 
shall  be  built  They  are  called  to  come  to  an  ac- 
count with  their  own  consciences,  to  search  and  try 
their  ways  ;  and  they  are  forward  to  promise  that 
they  will  do  it ;  nay,  they  will  set  the  time  when 
they  will  do  it  The  servant  that  owed  ten  thousand 
talents  thought  he  needed  not  be  beholden  to  his 
master  for  a  pardon  of  the  debt,  only  he  begged  for- 
bearance :  Have  patience  with  me  and  I  will  pay  thee 
all,*  They  shake  off  their  convictions,  and  elude 
them,  by  shifting  off  the  prosecution  of  them,  like 
Felix,  to  a  more  convenient  season,  which  season 
never  comes ;  and  so  they  are  cozened  of  all  their 
time,  by  being  cozened  of  the  present  time. 

4.  To  affect  you  the  more  with  the  misery  of  an 
impenitent,  unpardoned  state,  having  showed  you 
what  your  debt  is,  I  shall  next  lay  before  you  the 
danger  we  are  in  by  reason  of  this  debt  Many  who 
owe  a  great  deal  of  money,  yet  are  furnished  with 
considerations  sufficient  to  make  them  easy,  but  they 
are  such  as  our  case  will  not  admit. 

(1.)  Anexact  account  is  kept  of  all  our  debts.  Some 
who  are  in  debt  please  themselves  with  hopes  that 
their  debts  cannot  be  proved  upon  them,  and  so  they 
shall  escape  harm  by  them :  but  this  will  do  us  no 
service ;  all  our  sins  will  be  proved  upon  us.  These 
things  thou  hast  done  ;*  it  is  in  vi^in  to  deny  it,  or  to 
avoid  the  action  by  pleading  Non  estfactutn — It  is 
not  thy  deed.  If  the  debtor  keep  not  an  account  of 
his  debts,  yet  the  creditor  does ;  they  are  all  booked, 
all  kept  on  record,  laid  up  in  store  with  God,  and 
sealed  among  his  treasures.**  Job  speaks  of  his 
transgressions  as  sewed  up  in  a  bag,*  as  the  indict- 
ments are  upon  which  the  prisoners  are  to  be  arraign- 
ed ;  or,  as  bonds  and  notes  are  carefully  tied  up 
together  to  be  produced  when  there  is  occasion.  It 
will  be  to  no  purpose  to  contest  the  account,  when 
the  omniscience  of  God  will  attest  it.  Went  not  my 
heart  with  thee  ?^  says  the  prophet  to  his  servant. 
Was  not  God's  eye  upon  us,  when  our  backs  were 
upon  him,  and  we  were  running  from  him  into  by- 
paths ?  Were  not  all  our  ways,  our  sinful  ways,  ever 
before  him  ?  They  were,  without  doubt  they  were ; 
but  therefore  sinners  are  secure,  and  see  not  their 
danger,  because  (says  God)  they  consider  not  in 
their  heart  that  I  retnember  all  their  wickedness,^  But 
consider  this,  ye  who  forget  God,r  and  his  goodness, 
that  God  does  not  forget  you  and  your  wickedness. 
Our  sins  are  never  cast  behind  his  backy  till  we  have 
set  them  before  our  faces, 

(3.)  We  are  utterly  insolvent,  and  have  not  where- 


a  Dent  xxadi.  34. 
s  Hoft  vii.  8. 


Job  It.  17. 


V  2  Kings  ▼.  2& 
7  Pa.  1. 22. 


804 


A  SERMON  ON 


withal  to  pay  our  debts.  If  a  man  be  mach  in  debt, 
yet  if  he  knows  be  has  wherewithal  to  answer  all  his 
creditors,  he  needs  not  mach  perplex  himself,  especi- 
ally, if  he  can  discount  with  his  creditors  themselyes : 
and  there  are  those  who  flatter  themseWes  with  a 
conceit,  that  this  will  help  them  in  their  dealing 
with  God.  For  being  ignorant  of  his  righteoasness, 
of  the  strictness  of  the  demands  of  his  justice,  they 
go  about  to  establish  a  righteousness ■  of  their  own, 
and  are  willing  to  hope  that  their  good  qualities, 
and  their  good  deeds,  will  atone  for  their  bad  ones, 
and  be  a  competent  satisfaction  to  the  demands  of 
divine  justice.  Thus  it  is  common  for  foolish  debtors 
to  talk  big,  as  if  they  had  wherewithal  to  give  every 
body  their  own,  and  nobody  should  lose  by  them, 
when,  perhaps,  their  all  is  nothing,  or  next  to  no- 
thing. Laodicea  thought  herself  rich  and  increased 
in  goods,  when  she  was  wretchedly  and  miserably 
poor  and  naked,*  but  withal  blind,  and  would  not 
see. 

But  what  good  will  it  do  us  thus  to  deceive  our- 
selves ?  Can  the  all-seeing  God  be  deceived  ?  It  is 
certain  we  owe  more  than  we  are  worth ;  whether 
our  debt  be  more  or  less,  five  hundred  pence,  or 
fifty,  we  are  not  able  to  pay  it.'*  We  cannot  plead 
that  we  have,  by  any  3ervices  to  God,  or  sufferings 
for  him,  made  satisfaction  for  any  part  of  our  debts ; 
nor  can  we  promise  that  we  will ;  for  whatever  good 
there  is  in  us,  it  is  God's  own  gift,  it  is  his  own 
work,  for  which  we  are  yet  more  indebted  to  him. 
Whatever  good  is  done  by  us,  it  is  what  we  are 
already  bound  to.  And  though  a  tenant  should  pay 
his  rent  for  the  future,  yet  that  will  not  discharge 
his  old  scores.  We  are  become  bankrupts,  must  own 
ourselves  so,  and  for  ever  undone,  if  the  debt  we 
owe  be  exacted ;  for  if  God  enter  into  judgment 
with  us,  and  deal  with  us  in  strict  justice  according 
to  our  deserts,  we  are  not  able  to  answer  him  for  one 
of  a  thousand  ,^  In  thy  sight.  Lord,  shall  no  flesh  living 
be  justified.  We  have  no  oil  to  sell,  as  the  prophet's 
widow  had,  wherewith  to  pay  our  debt ;  no  equiva- 
lent to  offer,  nor  any  thing  wherewith  to  make  a 
composition.  We  are  debtors  to  God,  but  he  is  no 
debtor  to  us,  nor  is  he  ever  behind-hand  with  those 
who  do  any  service  for  him :  none  has  first  given  to 
him,  that  it  should  be  recompensed  to  him  again, 
Rom.  xi.  36.  There  were  those  indeed  who  thought 
they  had  made  God  their  debtor  by  their  devotions. 
Wherefore  have  we  fasted,  say  Mey ,  and  thou  seest  not  V^ 
But  when  the  matter  comes  to  be  looked  into,  it  ap- 
pears that  they  are  debtors  to  God,  by  reason  of  the 
wickedness  of  their  conversations :  Ye  fast  for  strife 
and  debate. 

(3.)  We  have  no  friend  on  earth  who  can  or  will 
pass  his  word  for  us,  or  be  our  bail.  Many  poor 
debtors  encourage  themselves  with  this,  that  they 

I  Rom.  s.  a       •  Rev.  Hi.  17.     b  Luke  vii.  41,49.     •  Jobiz.  3. 
d  Isa.  Iviit  3, 4.  F  1  Pet  i.  18.         r  AcU  yiii.  to. 


have  some  kind  relations,  who  will  stand  by  ihem^ 
and  appear  for  them,  and  help  them  in  a  time  of 
need :  but  poor  sinful  men  can  have  no  such  pros- 
pect, since  all  their  kindred  are  in  the  same  helpless 
condition  with  themselves,  a^deep  in  debt  as  they 
are.  The  wealthiest  worldlings,  who  have  most 
money,  cannot  with  it  undertake  to  pay  our  debts 
to  God:  no,  we  are  not  redeemed  with  corruptible 
things,  as  silver  and  gold.*  Pardons  are  those  gifts 
of  God,  which  are  not  to  be  purchased  with  money 
in  the  court  of  heaYen ;  ^  those,  therefore,  that  are  so 
purchased  in  the  court  of  Rome,  are  but  sham  par- 
dons ;  even  those  who  boast  themselves  in  the  multi- 
tude of  their  riches,  yet  none  of  them  can  by  any 
means  redeem  his  brother.'  The  wisest  virgins,  who 
have  most  grace,  have  most  oil,  yet  have  none  to 
spare,  there  is  not  enough  for  us  and  them.  If  God 
contend  with  us,  no  man  on  earth,  or  angels  in 
heaven,  can  undertake  to  arbitrate  the  matter,  or  as 
a  Days-man,  lay  his  hand  upon  us  both ;  can  under- 
take to  open  the  book  by  which  we  stand  charged,  or 
to  loose  the  seals ;  none  can  do  it  but  the  Lion  of  the 
tribe  of  Judah.^ 

(4.)  We  are  often  put  in  mind  of  our  debts  by  the 
providence  of  God,  and  by  our  own  consciences. 
Some  who  are  in  debt  hope  to  have  benefit  by  the 
statute  of  limitations,  and  that  the  debt  will  be  dropt 
for  want  of  being  demanded ;  but  the  debts  we  owe 
to  God  are  ever  and  anon  demanded,  and  the  right 
is  kept  up  by  a  continual  claim,  God  makes  it  to 
appear  that  he  takes  notice  of  them,  for  he  frequently 
gives  us  notice  of  them.  Conscience  is  a  standing 
monitor  in  our  own  bosoms,  to  put  us  in  mind  of 
our  sins,  and  of  the  danger  we  are  in  by  reason  of 
them,  and  to  stir  us  up  to  think  of  agreeing  with  oar 
adversary  in  time.  For  this  reason,  they  wbo  re- 
solve to  go  on  in  sin,  and  to  have  peace  (such  as  it  is) 
though  they  go  on,  do  all  they  can  to  stifle  the  sug- 
gestions of  their  own  consciences,  and  turn  a  deaf 
ear  to  them ;  as  those  who  are  in  debt  avoid  them 
by  whom  they  are  dunned,  and  keep  out  of  tbeir 
way.  But  sooner  or  later  conscience  will  be  heard, 
and  will  force  sinners  to  say,  as  Jawph*s  brethren 
did  long  after  they  had  contracted  the  debt.  We  are 
verily  guilty  concerning  our  brother.^ 

Aflltctions  are  messengers  sent  to  us  on  this  er- 
rand, to  remind  us  of  our  debts,  by  awaking  our  con- 
sciences, and  setting  our  sins  in  order  before  as : 
when  bitter  things  were  written  against  us,  it  is  with 
this  design,  to  make  us  possess  our  iniquities.' 
When  God  distrains  upon  our  comforts,  and  removes 
them  from  us,  it  is  to  remind  us  of  the  arrears  of  our; 
rent.  Art  thou  come  to  call  my  sin  to  my  remembrance^^ 
(said  the  widow  of  Sarepta,)  and  to  slay  my  son  * 
These  sharp  methods,  which  God  takes  to  pat  as  in 
mind  of  our  sins,  are  intimations  how  severe  the 


r  Pa.  zlix.  S,  7. 
k  Gen.  xti.  31. 


k  Job  ix.  33. 
1  Job  ziU<  S& 


i  Rev.  ▼.  &. 
1  Kings  xvii   la. 


FORGIVENESS  OF  SIN. 


805 


nekoniDs^  will  be,  if  we  never  take  care  to  get  them 
pardoned. 

(5.)  Death  will  shortly  arrest  us  for  these  debts,  to 
bring  as  to  an  account.  It  is  a  sergeant,  whose 
office  is  to  require  the  soal,  to  strip  it  of  the  body, 
and  to  bring  it  to  him  who  gave  it,  and  to  whom  it  is 
accoantable.  The  authority  of  this  officer  is  not  to 
be  disputed,  nor  his  power  resisted.  When  we  are 
sammoned  by  death  to  come  to  an  account,  we  shall 
find  there  is  no  discharge  in  that  war,"  no  remedy, 
bat  we  must  yield.  The  wages  of  sin  is  death,^  and 
its  constant  attendant  ever  since  it  first  entered.^ 
Death  in  our  discharge  from  other  debts;  in  the 
^ve  the  prisoners  rest  together,  and  hear  not  the 
voice  of  the  oppressor,**  but  it  lays  us  more  open  than 
ever  to  these  debts,  for  "  Afier  death  the  judgment.*' 
It  is  a  maxim  in  oar  law.  Actio  moritur  cum  personSt 
--The  action  dies  with  the  person  ;  but  it  will  be  of 
DO  ose  to  us  in  this  case,  for  God,  the  creditor,  never 
dies,  and  sinners,  the  debtors,  are  by  death  fetched 
in  to  appear  before  him. 

(6.)  A  dag  ofrechoning  will  come,  and  the  day  is 
fixed.  As  sure  as  we  see  this  day,  we  shall  see  that 
day,  when  every  man  must  give  an  account  of  him- 
self unto  God,'  ttnd  etery  worh  shall  be  brought  into 
jvdgmenty  with  every  secret  thing,*  The  young  man 
who  indulges  himself  in  carnal  mirth  and  sensual 
pleasures,  is  told  that  for  all  these  things  God  shaU 
hing  him  into  judgment.^  Though  it  is  after  a  long 
time,  yet  it  is  in  the  set  time,  that  the  Lord  of  the 
servants,  to  whom  the  talents  were  committed,  comes 
and  reckons  with  them."  The  God  to  whom  we 
gtand  indebted,  is  one  with  whom  we  now  have  to 
do  ;*  for  we  live  upon  him,  and  subsist  by  him,  and 
have  continual  business  with  him,  which  should 
make  it  the  more  uneasy  to  us  to  think  of  lying 
under  his  displeasure.  But  that  is  not  all,  he  is  one 
irpoc  ov  i7fuv  o  Xoyoc  (as  some  read  those  words) — to 
vkom  for  us  there  is  a  reehoning  ;  we  now  have  an 
account  with  him,  and  must  shortly  give  up  our  ac- 
coant  to  him.  How  careful  should  we  be  so  to 
jodge  ourselves,  that  we  may  not  be  judged  of  the 
Lord  ;*  so  to  state  our  accounts,  and  halance  them 
with  the  blood  of  Christ,  that  when  the  day  of 
reckoning  comes,  we  may  give  up  our  account  with 
joy,  and  not  with  grief !' 

(7.)  Hell  is  the  prison  into  which  those  debtors 
will  at  length  be  cast,  who  took  no  care  to  make  their 
peace,  and  there  are  the  tormentors  to  which  they 
will  be  delivered.^  This  our  Saviour  gives  as  a 
reason  why  we  should  agree  vrith  onr  adversary 
qoickly,  while  we  are  in  the  way,  because,  if  the 
matter  be  left  to  run  on,  we  shall  be  delivered  to  the 
jadge,  to  the  ofilcer,*  to  him  who  has  the  power  of 
death ;  and  so  be  cast  into  prison,  into  chains  of 
ierknees,  a  prison,  the  miseries  of  which  are  endless 

>  EocL  viii.  &       •  Rom.  vi.  S3,      p  Rom.  v.  13.     q  Job  iii.  1& 
r  Som.  xiv.  19.  •  £ccL  zil.  14.  t  Eccl.  zi.  9. 


and  easeless.  It  b  a  pit  in  which  there  is  no  water, 
not  the  least  mixture  or  allay  of  comfort,  not  a  drop 
of  water,  so  much  as  to  cool  the  tongue.*  Some 
prisoners  for  debt  live  so  merrily,  that  one  would 
think  their  prisons  were  designed  for  their  protec- 
tion rather  than  their  punishment ;  but  hell  is  no 
such  prison ;  there  is  nothing  there  but  weeping,  and 
wailing,  and  gnashing  of  teeth,  and  the  more  for  the 
many  fair  warnings  given  those  prisoners  not  to 
come  into  that  place  of  torment  It  is  a  pit  out  of 
which  there  is  no  redemption ;  the  debtor  shall  not  de- 
part thence  till  he  has  paid  the  last  mite ;  which  vrill 
never  be,  no,  not  during  the  endless  ages  of  eternity. 

And  now,  sirs,  what  say  you  to  these  things  ?  You 
are  many  of  you  great  dealers  in  the  world  ;  what  a 
consternation  would  you  be  in,  if  upon  casting  up 
your  books,  you  should  discover  yourselves  to  be  in 
debt  a  great  deal  more  than  yon  are  worth  ?  You  see 
yon  are  so  to  God,  and  does  it  make  no  impression 
upon  you?  are  you  in  no  care,  no  concern  about  it  ? 
Is  all  I  have  said  to  you  for  your  conviction  of  sin, 
and  of  your  misery  and  danger  because  of  sin,  but 
as  a  tale  that  is  told  ?  If  so,  all  I  have  to  say  con- 
cerning the  pardon  of  sin,  will  be  but  as  a  lovely  song 
of  one  that  can  play  well  on  an  instrument.  But  I 
trust  you  have  laid,  and  will  lay,  these  things  to  heart, 
that  the  debt  of  sin  is  really  a  burthen  to  you,  under 
which  you  labour,  and  are  heavy  laden ;  and  if  so, 
the  doctrine  of  the  remission  of  sins  will  be  to  you 
glad  tidings  of  great  joy,  and  as  life  from  the  dead. 
Nor  would  I  have  taken  this  pains  to  show  you  your 
sins,  if  your  case  had  been  desperate,  and  I  could 
not  at  the  same  time  have  showed  yon  the  great  sal- 
vation from  sin,  which  the  Redeemer  has  wrought 
out  by  bringing  in  an  everlasting  righteousness. 

II.  The  sins  we  are  to  repent  of,  being  our  debts  to 
God,  the  mercy  we  are  to  pray  for  is  the  forgiveness  of 
these  debts.  It  is  to  God  we  are  indebted,  and  there- 
fore to  him  we  must  address  ourselves  for  a  dis- 
charge from  the  debt ;  for  none  can  forgive  sins,  but 
God  only,  and  therefore  to  him  only  must  we  go  for 
that  forgiveness.  Having  opened  the  wound,  and 
showed  you  how  dangerous  it  is,  you  vrill  be  ready 
to  ask,  It  there  no  halm  in  Gilead?  Is  there  no  phy- 
sician there?  Yes,  blessed  be  God,  there  is.  The 
same  messengers  that  God  sends  to  put  you  in  mind 
of  your  debts,  are  appointed  to  put  you  in  the  way  of 
obtaining  the  remission  of  them :  and  this  is  that 
which,  in  Christ's  name,  is  preached  to  all  nations ; 
— it  is  now  preached  to  you. 

1.  Let  us  inquire,  what  is  included  in  this  mercy  of 
the  forgiveness  of  sin  as  a  debt,  and  what  steps 
God  graciously  takes  therein  toward  us,  when  we 
repent,  and  return,  and  believe  the  gospel.  He  acts 
as  a  merciful  and  compassionate  creditor  toward  a 
poor  debtor  who  lies  at  his  mercy. 

«  Matt.  xxY.  19.    r  Heb.  1  v.  31 .    w  i  Cor.  xi.  31 .   *  Heb.  xitL  17. 
r  Matt  zviii.  34.  i  Matt.  v.  95.  •  Luke  xvl.  34. 


806 


A  SERMON  ON 


(1.)  He  stays  process,  and  saffera  not  tbe  law  to 
have  its  coarse.  Judgement  is  ^ven  against  us; 
bnt  execution  is  not  taken  oat  upon  the  judgment. 
The  sinner  is  arrested  by  his  own  conscience  as  a 
debtor,  and  cried  out  against  himself,  /  have  tinned, 
and  deserve  to  die.  But  pardoning  mercy  unties 
the  knot  between  sin  and  death,  and  says,  as  Nathan 
to  David,  The  Lord  has  taken  away  thy  sin,  thou  f  halt 
not  die  ;^  thou  shalt  not  come  into  condemnation, 
thine  iniquity  is  become  thy  grief  and  shame,  and 
therefore  fear  not,  it  shall  not  be  thy  ruin.  Thou 
shalt  not  have  all  thou  hast  seized  on,  thou  shalt  not 
go  to  prison,  as  thou  deservest  The  debt  shall  not 
be  laid  to  thy  charge. 

The  sinner  is  arrested  by  affliction,  it  may  be,  as 
Elihu's  penitent  is,  and  is  alarmed  by  it  to  expect 
a  much  sorer  punishment;  He  is  chastened  with  pain 
upon  his  bed,  and  the  multitude  of  his  bones  with  strong 
pain  f  and  then,  under  the  sense  of  guilt  and  dread 
of  wrath,  counts  upon  nothing  else  but  that  his  life 
shall  go  to  the  destroyers.*'  But  he  has  a  friend  with 
At'jN,  an  interpreter,  one  among  a  thousand,^  who 
shows  him  God's  uprightness ;  his  hatred  of  sin ; 
and  yet  his  readiness  to  pardon  sinners.  This  be 
begins  to  give  heed  to,  and  take  hold  of,  and  thinks 
of  returning  to  God,  as  the  prodigal  to  his  father's 
house;  and  then  he  is  gracious  to  him;'  meets 
him  in  his  jeturn,  and  says.  Deliver  him  from 
going  down  to  the  pit ;  let  him  be  discharged  from 
these  pains,  from  these  terrors,  for  /  have  found 
a  ransom,  a  ransom  for  the  soul.  The  sinner  has 
said  unto  God,  Do  not  condemn  me;t  and  God  has 
said,  There  is  no  condemnation  to  them  that  are  in 
Christ  Jesiu.^  They  in  their  repentings  condemn 
themselves ;  men  in  their  reproaches  condemn  them  ; 
and  it  cannot  be  denied,  but  that  there  is  that  in  them 
which  deserves  condemnation.  But  it  is  God  that 
iustijies,  and  then  who  is  he  that  shall  condemn? 
Christ  died,  and  therefore  the  believer  shall  not :  he 
is  afflicted  and  chastened  of  the  Lord,  but  he  shall 
not  be  condemned  with  the  world,'  that  lies  under 
the  curse. 

Well,  this  is  a  good  step  toward  the  forgiving  of 
the  debt ;  now  there  begins  to  be  hope  in  Israel  con- 
cerning this  thing ;  herein  appears  the  divine  pity 
and  compassion,  God's  slowness  to  anger,  and 
readiness  to  show  mercy ;  and  this  long-suffering  of 
the  Lord  is  salvation.'^  But  the  proceedings  may  per- 
haps be  stopt  for  the  present,  and  yet  may  be  revived 
another  time;  a  judgment  that  has  long  lain  dor- 
mant may  come  against  a  man  when  he  least  thinks 
of  it,  and  therefore  God  in  forgiving  these  debts 
goes  farther ;  for, 

(2.)  He  cancels  the  ^luf,  vacates  the  judgment, 
and  disannuls  the  hand-writing  that  was  against  us, 

b2Sam.  xli.13.    sJobxxxiii.  19.    dJobxxxiii.22.    •  Job  zxziil.  23. 

f  Job  xxxiil.  34.     fr  Job  x.2.     h  Rom.  viii.  I.      1 1  Cor.  xi.  32. 

k  9  Pet  iii.  IS.  1  Col.  ii.  U.  m  Heb.  viil.  13. 


that  was  contrary  to  us,  and  takes  it  out  of  the 
way.'  He  pardons  sin  thoroughly  and  fully,  so  as  to 
remember  it  no  more  "  ag^nst  the  sinner.  He  casts 
it  behind  his  back,"  as  that  which  he  is  determined 
never  more  to  inquire  after ;  casts  it  into  tbe  depths 
of  the  sea,**  as  that  which  shall  never  more  appear  or 
come  to  light,  as  it  might  at  low  water,  if  it  were 
cast  near  the  shore  side.  The  iniquity  of  Jacob 
shall  be  sought  for  and  not  be  found  :p  therefore 
God  is  said  to  blot  out^  tbe  iniquities  of  poor  peni- 
tents, as  the  memorandum  of  a  debt  is  blotted  oat 
when  it  is  paid  or  pardoned  ;  he  not  only  crosses  the 
book,  which  leaves  it  legible,  but  blots  it  out,  not  to 
be  read ;  for  so  is  the  promise  to  a  true  penitent.  All 
his  transgressions  that  he  hath  committed  shall  not  be 
mentioned  unto  him,^  he  shall  not  be  so  much  as  up- 
braided with  them.  It  is  blotted  out  as  a  cloud,  as  a 
thick  cloud,  by  the  heat  of  the  sun ;  it  is  vanishetf, 
and  there  appears  not  the  least  remainder  of  it; 
The  transgression  is  removed  from  the  transgressors 
as  far  as  the  east  is  from  the  west*  These  and  many 
the  like  expressions,  give  us  abundant  assurance 
that  the  sin  once  pardoned  shall  not  rise  up  in  judg- 
ment against  the  sinner  another  day ;  and  give  us 
abundant  occasion  to  say,  Who  is  a  God  like  unto  thee, 
pardoning  iniquity  ? 

Well,  this  secures  the  life,  and  happiness,  and 
eternal  welfare  of  the  penitent  believer:  but  still  be 
may  want  present  comfort.  The  bond  may  be  can- 
celled, and  he  not  know  it ;  the  sentence  of  absola- 
tion  passed,  and  yet  he  not  hear  the  voice  of  joy  and 
gladness  ;*  so  that  the  broken  bones  are  still  com- 
plaining: therefore  God  is  pleased  many  times  to 
carry  this  act  of  grace  on  yet  further. 

(3.)  He  {pves  an  acquittance,  and  delivers  it  by  his 
Spirit  into  the  believer's  hand,  speaking  peace  to 
him,  filling  him  with  comfort,  arising  from  a  sense 
of  his  justification,  and  the  blessed  tokens  and 
pledges  of  it  When  he  says.  Son,  daughter,  be  of 
good  cheer,  thy  sins  are  forgiven  thee  ;■  (as  be  spake 
comfortably  unto  Zion,  saying.  Thy  warfare  is  ac- 
complished, thine  iniquity  is  pardoned  ;^)  then  be 
gives  up  the  bond  cancelled,  to  the  unspeakable 
satisfaction  of  the  penitent  We  read  of  a  woman 
who  had  been  a  sinner,  a  notorious  sinner,  who,  upon 
her  repentance,  had  much  forgiven  her,  and  showed 
it  by  her  loving  much  ;*  yet  afterwards  Christ  not 
only  said  of  her,  Her  sins  whick  are  many  are  for- 
given, but  turned  and  said  to  her.  Thy  sins  are  for- 
given thee,  and.  Thy  faith  hath  saved  thee,  to  set  forth 
this  further  act  of  divine  favour,  in  causing  as  to 
hear  God's  loving-kindness,  and  to  taste  that  he  is  i 
gracious. 

Well,  blessed,  thrice  blessed  are  they  whose 
iniquities  are  thus  forgiven,  and  to  whom  they  are 

n  In.  xxxvili.  17.  •  Mic.  vii.  10.  p Jer.  f.3a  , 

qlaa-xliii.  36.      r  Euk.  xviil.  23.         •  P9.ciii..l2.         tPs.1i.  a 
u  Matt.  ix.  3l  r  Isa.  xl.  3.  w  Luke  v)i.  47, 4& 


FORGIVENESS  OF  SIN. 


807 


not  imputed  ;  who  by  their  own  experience  of  the 
breaking  of  the  power  of  sin  in  them,  are  made  to 
know  that  the  guilt  of  sin  is  removed ;  and  to  whom 
it  appears,  by  their  being  reconciled  to  God,  and  to 
bis  whole  will,  that  God  is  in  Christ  reconciled  to 
them.  But  may  it  be  hoped  that  these  criminals 
shall  not  only  be  pardoned,  but  preferred*  and  made 
faTOurites  again  ?  Yes,  to  complete  the  mercy,  he 
not  only  forgives  the  debts  we  have  contracted,  but, 

(4.)  He  condescends  to  deal  with  us  again,  audio 
admit  us  into  covenant  and  communion  with  him- 
self. Tboqgh  we  have  g^ne  behind-hand  in  our 
rent,  he  remits  the  arrears,  and  continues  us  his 
tenants;  though  we  have  buried  and  wasted  our 
talents,  yet  he  continues  us  in  his  service,  and  in- 
trusts us  with  more.  Those  we  have  been  great 
losen  by,  though  we  may  forgive  them,  yet  we  do 
not  forget  them,  nor  care  for  trusting  them  again. 
But  in  this,  as  in  other  things,  the  God  with  whom  we 
have  to  do,  is  Gikl  and  not  man ;  heforgivei  and/br- 
geu,  and  yet  will  be  no  loser  in  his  glory  by  forgiving. 
Lord !  what  is  man,  that  he  should  be  thus  regard- 
ed? that  he  should  not  only  be  delivered  from  going 
down  to  the  pit,  bgt  that  his  life  should  see  the 
light,'  the  eternal  light,  and  the  paths  that  lead  to  it. 
When  we  pray  that  God  would  forgive  us  our  debts, 
we  pray  not  only  that  we  may  not  be  rejected,  but 
that  we  may  be  accepted  in  the  Beloved,  according 
to  the  riches  of  that  grace  wherein  he  has  abounded 
toward  us  ;7  that  with  the  remission  of  sins,  we  may 
receive  the  gift  of  the  Holy  Ghost,'  the  earnest  of 
the  Spirit,  and  tkat,  at  length,  which  it  is  the  earnest 
of,  even  an  inheritance  among  all  them  who  are 
sanctified ;  for  whom  he  justified  them  he  glorified. 

2.  Having  seen  how  much  is  included  in  God's 
forgiving  us  our  debts,  because  it  is  so  great  a  favour, 
that  we  may  be  tempted  to  think  it  too  much  for 
sacb  worthless  unworthy  creatures  as  we  are  to 
expect,  let  us  next  inquire,  what  ground  we  have  to 
hope  for  it:  how  is  it  that  a  God  infinitely  just  and 
holy,  should  be  thus  readily  reconciled  to  a  g^iilty 
and  polluted  sinner  upon  bis  repenting  ?  If  we  owe 
a  great  sum  of  money  to  a  man  like  ourselves,  we 
could  not  have  the  face  to  go  to  him,  and  desire 
him  to  remit  it,  when  we  have  not  wherewithal  to 
make  any  composition  with  him.  Why  should  not 
a  just  debt  be  paid  ?  and  if  nothing  is  to  be  had, 
why  should  not  the  debtor  be  sold,*  currat  lex — 
ond  the  law  take  its  eourte  ?  What  reason  have  we  to 
expect  that  the  lawful  captive  should  be  delivered  1^ 
Blessed  be  God  we  may  expect  it,  we  may  be  sure 
of  it,  if  we  tepent  and  believe  the  gospel. 

(1.)  We  may  ground  our  expectations  upon  the 
goodness  of  his  nature.  This  is  so  much  his  glory, 
that  by  it  he  has  proclaimed  his  name  not  only  gra- 
rious  and  merciful  in  general,  but  in  this  particular 


s  Job  xxxiii.  SS. 
« IflL  xlix.  34. 


7  Epb.  i.  6, 7.     t  AcU  ii.  36.     •  Matt  xviii.  35. 
e  Ezek.  xxziT.  6^7.        d  Matt,  xviii.  37.        I 


instance,  so  that  he  forgives  iniquity,  transgression, 
and  sin  f  and  therefore  pardons  the  sin,  because  he 
desires  not  nor  delights  in  the  ruin  of  the  sinner. 
How  vast  were  the  compassions  of  that  prince  in 
the  parable,  which  moved  him  to  forgive  so  great  a 
debt,  as  that  of  ten  thousand  talents  \^  And  yet,  as 
heaven  is  high  above  the  earth,  so  do  the  divine 
compassions  exceed  those :  Israel  of  old  found  them 
so,  when  their  transgressions  were  so  very  numerous, 
so  very  heinous ;  yet  he  being  full  of  compassion, 
forgave  their  iniquity.  Merciful  men  will  some- 
times lend,  hoping  for  nothing  again;  and  where 
nothing  is  to  be  had,  will  not  be  rigorous  nor  extreme 
in  demanding  their  right :  and  shall  not  the  Father 
of  mercies  take  pity  on  the  miserable  ?  He  who  is 
good,  and  therefore  ready  to  forgive ;  merciful  and 
gracious,*  and  therefore  removes  our  transgressions 
from  us  as  far  as  the  east  is  from  the  west.^  He  is 
a  God  with  whom  that  plea  is  of  force,  What  ftrojlt 
is  there  in  my  blood?  And  whose  soul  was  g^eved 
for  the  misery  of  Israel, s  though  they  brought  it  upon 
themselves  by'  their  own  sin  and  folly. 

Well,  it  is  true  that  God  is  infinitely  good,  and 
we  have  abundant  reason  to  hope  in  his  mercy,  and 
abundant  encouragement  to  plead  it  with  him  ;  but 
it  is  as  true  that  he  is  just  and  righteous,  that  he  is 
the  great  Governor  of  the  world,  and  the  honour  of 
his  government  must  be  maintained ;  his  injured 
justice  calls  for  satisfaction,  and  one  attribute  of  his 
shall  not  be  glorified  by  the  damage  and  reproach 
of  another.  It  is  true,  he  is  merciful,  and  yet  there 
is  a  world  of  angels  who  lie,  and  are  like  to  lie  for 
ever,  under  the  pouring  out  of  the  full  vials  of  his 
wrath ;  and  therefore,  though  his  goodness  and  mercy, 
as  it  is  revealed  to  us  in  the  Scripture,  is  our  great 
encouragement,  yet, 

(2.)  We  are  to  ground  our  expectations  upon  the 
mediation  of  our  Lord  Jesus.  Therefore  God  forgives 
our  debt,  because  Jesus  Christ,  by  the  blood  of  his 
cross,  has  made  satisfaction  for  it,  and  given  his  life 
a  ransom  for  ours :  which  is  so  far  from  lessening 
the  freeness  of  that  grace  which  forgives  us,  that  it 
greatly  magnifies  it,  for  it  was  he  himself  who  found 
the  ransom,**  it  was  he  himself  who  gave  his  Son  to 
be  a  propitiation  for  our  sins.*  And  herein  more  than 
in  any  thing  he  commended  his  love,''  that  he  would 
not  only  forgive  our  debt,  but  put  himself  to  such 
vast  expense  of  blood  and  treasure,  that  he  might 
do  it  so  as  to  secure,  nay  to  declare,  his  righteous- 
ness ;  to  declare,  I  say,  at  this  time  his  righteousness ; 
(such  an  emphasis  does  the  apostle  lay  upon  this ;)  that 
he  might  be  not  only  merciful  but  just,  and  the  justi- 
fier  of  them  who  believe  in  Jesus.^  If  sinners  are 
debtors,  it  is  Christ  who  is  their  surety,  upon  the 
account  of  whose  satisfaction  their  debt  is  forgiven : 
Christ  is  called  the  surety  of  the  covenant  ;^  not  that 

e  Ps.  Ixxxvi.  A.     f  Ps.  ciii.  8, 12.     rJudg.x.  16.     h  Job  xxxiii.  34. 
i  1  John  iv.  10.     k  Rom.  v.  8.     1  Rom.  iii.  25, 80.     »  Heb.  vii.  23. 


808 


A  SERMON  ON 


he  was  originally  bound  in  the  bond  with  us,  as  if 
it  were  implied  in  the  penalty  annexed  to  the  coTe- 
nant  of  innocency,  which  was,  Thou  thaU  surely  die, 
that  is,  ihou  or  thy  surety.  No,  Christ's  undertak- 
ing supposes  us  already  debtors,  and  under  arrest 
for  the  debt ;  so  that  Christ  comes  in  rather  as  bail 
to  the  action,  than  as  a  secondary  undertaker  from 
the  beginning.  His  office  as  mediator  takes  it  for 
granted,  that  God  and  man  are  at  variance,  for  a 
mediator  is  not  of  one  ;■»  we  are  looked  upon  as  under 
the  law,  that  is,  under  the  curse,  when  Christ  to 
redeem  us  makes  himself  sin  and  a  curse  for  us.» 
Let  us  see  how  this  is  done. 

[1.]  Our  Lord  Jesus  Tolnntarily  undertook  to  be 
a  surety  for  us :  pitying  our  deplorable  case,  and 
concerned  for  his  Father's  injured  honour,  that  divine 
justice  might  be  satisfied,  and  yet  sinners  saved, 
he  offered  to  make  his  own  soul  a  sacrifice  for  sin, 
and  himself  a  propitiation,  answering  the  demands 
of  the  law,  as  the  propitiatory,  or  mercy-seat,  exact- 
ly answered  the  dimensions  of  the  ark.  The  Father 
intrusted  him  with  this  great  piece  of  service,  and 
he  voluntarily  and  cheerfully  consented  to  it:  he 
said,  Lo,  1  come,  and  not  only  did  this  vrill  of  God, 
but  delighted  to  do  it  ;p  drawn  to  it,  and  held  to  it, 
with  no  other  cords  but  those  of  his  own  love,  and 
the  agreeableness  of  his  undertaking  to  his  Father's 
commandment 

Christ  had  no  debt  of  his  own  to  pay,  for  he  al- 
ways did  those  things  that  pleased  his  Father.  Such 
was  the  dignity  of  his  person,  and  such  the  value  of 
the  price  he  paid,  that  he  had  wherewithal  to  make 
full  satisfaction,  and  to  pay  this  debt,  even  to  the 
last  mite.  He  said.  Upon  me  he  the  curse,  my  Fa- 
ther. Thus  he  became  bound  for  us,  as  Paul  for 
Onesimus  to  Philemon  his  master :  If  he  have 
wronged  thee,  or  oweth  thee  ought,  I  Paul  have  writ- 
ten it  with  my  own  hand,  the  blessed  Jesus  has  writ- 
ten it  with  his  own  blood,  /  will  repay  it.^  And 
this  undertaking  of  Christ's  shall  redound  more  to 
the  glory  of  God,  eyen  to  the  glory  of  his  justice, 
than  the  damnation  of  these  sinners  would  have 
done  ;  for  if  they  had  perished,  the  righteousness  of 
God  would  have  been,  to  eternity,  but  in  the  satirfy- 
ing ;  but  now,  by  the  merit  of  Christ's  death,  it  is 
once  for  all  satisfied,  and  reconciliation  made  for  ini- 
quity.   Thus  he  restored  that  which  he  tooh  not  away.' 

Let  us  pause  a  little,  and  think  with  wonder  and 
thankfulness  of  this  glorious  undertaking.  How 
great  was  that  kindness  and  love  of  God  our  Savi- 
our towards  man,  which  set  this  work  going  I  How 
admirable  the  wisdom  that  contrived  it !  The  wis- 
dom of  God  in  a  mystery.*  Let  every  crown  be 
thfown  at  the  Redeemer's  feet,  and  every  song  sung 
to  his  praise.     Who  is  this  that  engageth  his  heart  to 

n  Gal.  iii.20.     e  QfU.  ill  10,  la     p  Pb.  xl.  7.      q  Phil.  18.  19. 

r  Ps.  Ixix.  4.  •  I  Cor.  ii.  7-  t  Jer.  zxx.  ai. 

«  IML  liii.  1.  T  In.  lilt.  12.  »  Isa.  zl  2. 


approach  unio  God,*  as  a  surety  for  us  ?  It  is  he  who 
speaks  in  righteousness,  and  will  never  unsay  what 
he  has  said,  for  he  is  mighty  to  save,"  be  is  al- 
mighty. 

[2.]  Having  made  himself  a  surety  for  us,  he  made 
full  satisfaction  to  divine  justice  for  our  debt,  by  the 
blood  of  his  cross.  He  poured  out  his  soul  unto 
death,'  not  only  for  our  good,  but  in  our  stead ;  and 
paid,  though  not  the  idem — the  same,  that  we  should 
have  paid,  yet  the  tantundem — the  equivalent,  that 
which  was  more  than  equivalent ;  so  that  in  him  God 
might  be  said  to  have  received  double  for  all  our 
sins,*  so  much  was  the  Father  glorified  in  him. 

God  charged  the  debt  upon  him,  according  to  his 
undertaking.  Those  he  undertook  for  being  insolv- 
ent, the  action  was  brought  against  him ;  and  God 
laid  upon  him  the  iniquity  of  us  all ;'  made  it  all  to 
meet  upon  him,  (so  the  word  is,)  as  the  sins  of  all 
Israel  were  made  to  meet  upon  the  head  of  the  goat, 
that  on  the  day  of  atonement  was  to  be  sent  into  a 
land  of  forgetfulness.y  Solomon  says.  He  that  is 
surety  for  a  stranger  shall  smart  for  it,  shall  be 
broken  by  it :  our  Lord  Jesus  being  surety  for  us 
who  were  strangers  and  forcipiers,  he  smarted  for 
it  ;*  for  it  pleased  the  Lord  to  bruise  him,  and  put 
him  to  grief 

He  voluntarily  and  freely  paid  the  debt ;  his  life 
was  not  forced  from  him,  but  he  laid  it  down  of 
himself.^  The  satisfaction  was  to  be  made  to  God 
in  his  HONOUR ;  for  in  that  he  had  been  injured, 
and  to  that  he  had  an  eye,  when  he  said.  Father, 
glorify  thy  name,^  take  the  satisfaction  that  is  de- 
manded. And  it  was  to  be  made  by  his  death,  for 
without  shedding  of  blood,  that  blood  which  is  the 
life,  there  was  no  remission ;  and,  therefore,  he  laid 
down  his  life  with  these  words.  Father,  into  thy 
hands  I  commit  my  spirit  i^  that  life,  that  soul,  which 
is  to  be  given  as  a  ransom  for  many,  I  here  give  to 
thee ;  I  put  it  into  thy  hands,  as  the  surety  pays  the 
debt  into  the  hands  of  the  creditor,  the  proper  per- 
son  to  receive  it. 

[3.]  The  satisfaction  which  Christ  made  for  oor 
sins  was  graciously  accepted,  and  God  was  so  well 
pleased  in  him,*  as  to  be  well  pleased  with  us  in 
him.  This  was  a  further  act  of  divine  grace ;  for  in 
strict  justice  it  might  have  been  insisted  on,  that  the 
law  should  have  had  its  course  against  the  sinners 
themselves.  Christ  intimated,  that  pursuant  to  the 
counsels  of  peace,'  which  were  between  the  Father 
and  him,  concerning  man's  redemption,  his  arrest 
should  be  our  discbarge,  when  he  said  to  those  who 
seized  him  in  the  garden.  If  ye  seek  me,  let  these  go 
their  way.%  He  delivered  up  himself  to  suffer  and 
die,  that  we  might  be  delivered  from  wrath  and  ruin, 
and  divine  justice  agreed  to  it 

s  ISL  liii.  6.      y  Lev.  xvi.si.     «  Prov.  xi.  15.      •  In.  liil.  10. 

b  John  X.  18.  e  John  xli.  98.  d  Luke  xxiii.  4S. 

•  Matt  xTii.  5.  f  Zech.  vi.  I3l  r  John  xviii.  & 


FORGIVENESS  OF  SIN. 


809 


In  token  of  the  acceptance  of  his  satisfaction,  God 
raised  him  from  the  dead,  sent  an  angel  to  roll  away 
the  stone  from  the  door  of  the  sepulchre,  and  so  to 
release  the  prisoner;  which  he  did,  and  then  sat 
upon  it^  in  triumph,  signifying  that  then  death  had 
no  more  dominion  over  him,  but  was  perfectly  con- 
quered and  abolished.  But  are  we  certain  that  he 
had  a  fair  discharge?  Yes,  for  he  was  often  seen 
alive,  seen  at  liberty,  and  the  Father  having  raised 
him  from  the  dead,  set  him  at  his  own  right  hand, 
which  would  have  been  no  place  for  him,  if  he  had 
not  fully  made  good  his  undertaking.  Christ's  death 
beio^  the  payment  of  our  debt,  for  he  was  delivered 
for  oar  offences,  his  resurrection  was  the  taking  out 
of  oar  acquittance,  for  he  rose  again  for  our  justifi- 
cation.i  Therefore  the  apostle  lays  the  stress  of  our 
faith,  hope,  and  comfort  upon  this.  Who  is  he  that 
shall  condemn?  Who  can  take  out  an  execution 
against  us  ?  It  is  Christ  that  died,  yea^  rather,  that  is 
risen  again  :^  by  which  it  appears  that  his  dying  for 
as  was  accepted,  especially  since  he  now  is  even  at 
the  right  hand  of  God  making  intercession  in  the 
virtue  of  his  satisfaction ;  and  it  is  an  effectual  in- 
tercession, for  the  Father  hears  him  always. 

[4.]  The  satisfaction  being  accepted,  a  release  of 
debts  is  published  and  proclaimed  in  the  everlasting 
gospel  to  all  penitent  and  obedient  believers.    Full 
assurance  is  given  them  that  their  sins  shall  be  par- 
doned, and  they  shall  be  made  accepted  in  the  Be- 
loved.   The  preaching  of  the  gospel  is  called  the 
proclaiming  of  the  acceptable  year  of  the  Lord,^  in 
allasion  to  the  year  of  release,  which  was  every 
seventh ;  and,  especially,  to  the  year  of  jubilee, 
which  was  every  fiftieth  ;*  when  all  debts  were  dis- 
charged, mortgaged  possessions  restored,  and  all  en- 
cumbrances on  men's  estates  taken  off.   And  this 
was  proclaimed  by  sound  of  trumpet  in  the  evening 
of  the  day  of  atonement,  to  signify,  that  upon  the 
account  of  the  atonement  which  Christ  was  to  make, 
poor  sinners  should  be  delivered  from  that  wrath  and 
corse  to  which  they  were  bound  over,  and  brought 
into  the  glorious  liberty  of  God's  children,  and  re- 
stored to  all  the  glorious  privileges  and  inheritances 
of  free-born  Israelites.  Blessed  is  the  people  that  hear 
this  joyful  sound,*  the  trumpet  of  the  everlasting  gos- 
pel publishing  this  release,  this  act  of  indemnity, 
liberty  to  the  captives j  and  the  opening  of  the  prison 
to  them  that  were  bound. 

These  glad  tidings  of  great  joy  are  to  be  brought 
to  all  people ;  whoever  will  come  and  take  the  benefit 
of  this  general  release,  and  sue  out  a  particular  dis- 
charge upon  it,  on  very  easy  and  unexceptionable 
terms ;  for  the  gospel  excludes  none,  who  do  not  by 
their  own  wilful  impenitence  and  unbelief  exclude 
themselves.  Nay,  we  have  not  only  this  discharge 
offered  us,  but  we  are  courted,  and  earnestly  invited, 

h  Matt,  nviii.  3.   i  Rom.  !▼.  SS.    k  Rom.  tUI.  34.   t  Luke  iv.  19. 
m  Lev. »,  9, 10.      a  Pb.  luxix.  lAb        o  3  Cor.  V.  19,  30. 


to  come  in  and  accept  of  it.  God  having  in  Christ 
laid  a  foundation  for  the  reconciling  the  world  unto 
himself,  has  sent  his  ambassadors,  not  only  to  pro- 
pose the  matter  to  us,  but  to  beseech  us,  nay,  God 
does  by  them  beseech  us  to  be  reconciled  to  God,* 
though  it  had  better  become  us  to  beseech  him  first 
to  be  reconciled  to  us. 

[5.]  It  is  upon  the  account  of  Christ's  satisfaction, 
that  our  sins  are  actually  pardoned  upon  our  repent- 
ing and  believing ;  and  that  is  it  which  we  are  to 
plead  with  God,  and  to  rely  upon  as  a  valid  plea  in 
our  prayers  to  God  for  the  forgiveness  of  our  debts. 
In  his  righteousness  we  must  appear  before  God ; 
making  mention  of  that,  even  of  that  only,  and  not 
thinking  to  justify  ourselves.P  It  is  through  his  blood 
that  we  have  redemption,  even  the  remission  of  sins,4 
for  that  is  it  which,  having  been  shed  for  us  without 
the  city,  speaks  for  us  vdthin  the  veil,  and  speaks 
better  things  than  that  of  Abel ;''  and  he  still  appears 
in  the  midst  of  the  throne,  a  Lamb  as  it  had  been  slain,* 
newly  slain,  and  bleeding  afresh,  to  intimate  the 
constant  perpetual  virtue  of  his  satisfaction,  and  the 
continual  advantage  which  believers  have  and  may 
have  by  it. 

In  praying  for  the  forgiveness  of  our  sins,  we  must 
have  an  eye  to  Christ  as  our  Redeemer;  the  Re- 
deemer of  our  persons  that  were  in  bondage,  and  of 
our  inheritance  which  was  in  mortgage.  He  is  our 
Goel;  Job  calls  him  so,  and  the  prophets  often :  it 
is  the  title  of  the  next  hinsman ;  who  by  the  law  was 
to  redeem  the  possession  which  his  brother  sold.^ 
Christ  having  taken  our  nature  upon  him,  is  become 
our  kinsman,  and  he  is  the  next  kinsman  who  is 
able  to  redeem,  so  that  to  him  the  right  of  redemption 
does  belong :  and  he  has  graciously  condescended 
to  do  the  kinsman's  part ;  so  that  we  return  to  our 
inheritance  again,  from  which  we  had  other¥rise 
been  for  ever  banished  ;  and  have  the  earnest  of  it 
until  the  complete  redemption  of  the  purchased  pos- 
session." We  must  also  in  a  particular  manner  have 
an  eye  to  his  death  as  our  ransom :  for  the  sake  of 
which  we  are  delivered  from  going  down  to  the  pit.^ 
Very  fitly  therefore  is  that  sacrament  which  is  the 
memorial  of  his  death,  made  the  seal  of  our  par- 
don. 

3.  Having  showed  you  how  sad  your  case  is 
upon  the  account  of  sin,  and  what  a  dangerous  debt 
it  is ;  and  yet  that  your  case  is  not  desperate,  but 
there  is  hope  for  you  through  grace,  I  promise  my- 
self, you  will  now  be  willing  and  glad  to  hear,  what  is 
expected  and  required  from  you,  that  you  may  obtain 
this  favour,  and  that  your  debts  may  be  forgiven. 
Christ,  as  a  surety  for  us,  has  made  satisfaction ;  but 
what  must  we  do  that  we  may  have  an  interest  in 
that  satisfaction  ?  It  is  true  that  atonement  is  made 
for  sin,  and  is  accepted  as  sufficient  to  gpround  a 

P  Ps.  IxxL  16.       q  Eph.  i.  7.       r  Heb.  xil.  34.       ■  Rev.  ▼.  & 
t  Lev.  xzT.  35.  «  Eph.  1. 14.  ▼  Job  zzxlil.  94. 


810 


A  SERMON  ON 


treaty  of  peace  upon ;  and  yet  it  is  as  true,  that 
multitudes  perish  eternally  under  the  load  of  this 
debt,  and  continue  in  their  captivity,  notwithstand- 
ing the  proclamation  of  liberty.  It  therefore  con- 
cerns us  all  to  see  to  it,  that  we  be  duly  qualified, 
according  to  the  tenor  of  the  new  covenant,  for  the 
comforts  of  a  sealed  pardon  and  a  settled  peace ; 
and  that  we  may  be  so, 

(I.)  We  must  eonftis  the  debt,  with  a  humble, 
lowly,  penitent,  and  obedient  heart.  We  must  own 
ourselves  guilty  before  God,  and  concluded  under 
sin.  Let  not  those  expect  to  prosper,  or  recover 
themselves  from  under  this  load,  who  cover  their 
sins,  for  they,  and  they  only,  who  confess  and  forsake 
them,  shall  find  mercy."  We  arc  charged  as  debtors, 
and  must  not  go  about  to  deny  the  debt,  no,  nor  to 
excuse  or  extenuate  it ;  but  be  ready  to  acknowledge 
that  we  have  sinned,  and  have  perverted  that  which 
was  right,  and  it  profited  us  not ;»  that  we  have  been 
both  unjust  to  God  and  injurious  to  ourselves,  as 

debtors  are. 

In  confessing  the  debt  we  must  be  particular; 
must  not  only  own  that  we  are  sinners,  but,  in  this 
and  the  other  instance,  we  have  sinned ;  not  for  in- 
formation to  God,  he  knows  our  sins  better  than  we 
ourselves  know  them,  but  for  humiliation  and  warn- 
ing to  ourselves.  /  have  tinned,  (says  David,)  and 
have  done  this  evil  J  I  have  sinned,  (says  Achan,)  and 
thus  and  thus  have  I  done.*  And  the  more  particu- 
lar we  are  in  the  acknowledgment  of  sin,  the  more 
comfort  we  may  expect  to  have  in  the  sense  of  the 
pardon.  If  I  can  say,  ''  This  sin  I  confessed ;  I 
trust,  through  grace,  this  sin  is  pardoned,  and  shall 
not  be  laid  to  my  charge.  But  then  this  confession 
of  sin  must  be  accompanied  with  true  remorse  and 
godly  sorrow  for  it ;  we  must  bewail  it,  and  bemoan 
ourselves  because  of  it ;  must  give  glory  to  God,  and 
take  shame  to  ourselves  in  making  this  confession : 
And  as  the  prodigal  when  we  own  we  have  sinned 
against  God,  we  must  own,  that  we  are  no  more 
worthy  to  be  called  his  children  ;  nay,  that  it  were 
a  righteous  thing  with  him  to  deliver  us  to  the  tor- 
mentors. And  if  we  thus  judge  ourselves,  we  shall 
not  be  judged. 

(2.)  We  must  achnowledge  a  judgment  of  all  we 
have  to  our  Lord  Jesus,  who  has  been  thus  kind  to 
satisfy  for  our  debt.  This  is  one  proper  act  of  faith. 
To  resign,  surrender,  and  give  up  ourselves,  our 
whole  selves,  body,  soul,  and  spirit;  all  we  are, 
have,  and  can  do ;  to  be  under  the  direction  and 
government  of  his  word  and  Spirit,  to  be  devoted  to 
his  honour,  employed  in  his  service,  and  disposed  of 
at  his  will.  Our  own  selves  we  must  give  unto  the 
Lord,*  and  to  us  to  live  must  be  Christ :  our  all 
must  be  put  into  his  hands,  must  be  laid  at  his  feet. 
It  is  indeed  a  very  poor  counter-security,  but  such 

w  Prov.  xxviii.  13.    *.  Job  xzxiii.  37.    j  Ps.  li.  4.    s  Josh.  vii.  30. 
•  2  Cor.  viii.  5.       b  Luke  i.  74,  7S.       e  Titus  ii.  14 


as  it  is  he  requires  it,  and  is  pleased  to  accept  of  it, 
provided  we  be  sincere  and  faithful  in  the  sur^ 
render. 

There  is  good  reason  why  we  should  do  this  ;  for 
therefore  he  delivered  us  out  of  the  hands  of  our 
enemies,  that  we  might  serve  him  ;^  therefore  re- 
deemed us,  that  we  might  be  to  him  a  peculiar 
people,  purijied  from  sinful  works,  and  zealous  oj 
good  works. ^  Nor  can  we  do  better  for  ourselves, 
than  to  give  up  ourselves  entirely  to  Christ ;  we  are 
never  more  our  own,  than  when  we  are  wholly  his. 
If  we  resign  ourselves  to  him,  it  is  in  trust  for  the 
securing  of  ourselves,  and  our  own  true  welfare, 
that  we  may  not  again  be  our  own  ruin.  Thus  will  he 
complete  his  kindness  to  us,  if  it  be  not  our  own 
fault :  he  who  was  our  surety  to  save  us  from  pe- 
rishing under  the  load  of  guilt  we  had  contracted, 
will  be  our  trustee,  to  save  us  from  faliini^  a$cain 
under  the  like  load  ;  for  he  has  said,  Sin  shall  not 
have  dominion  over  you.^  Thus  will  he  perfect  all 
that  which  concerns  us  ;*  and  if  we  commit  our- 
selves and  our  all  to  him,  we  shall  find  he  is  able  to 
keep  what  we  have  committed  unto  him  against  that 
day,  and  he  will  be  found  a  faithful  trustee. 

(3.)  We  must  give  to  Christ  the  honour  of  our  par- 
don, by  relying  entirely  on  his  righteousness  as  our 
plea  for  it ;  acknowledging  that  other  foundation  of 
hope  can  no  man  lay,'  and  other  fountain  of  joy  can 
no  man  open.  We  must  for  ever  disclaim  all  de- 
pendence upon  our  own  sufficiency,  and  with  the 
highest  satisfaction  rest  upon  Christ  only  as  a  com- 
plete and  all-sufficient  Saviour.  The  great  concerns 
of  our  immortal  souls,  our  reconciliation  to  God, 
and  our  felicity  in  him,  we  must  lodge  in  his  hands, 
by  a  submission  not  only  to  his  government,  as  the 
Lord  our  Ruler,  but  to  his  grace,  as  the  Lord  our 
Righteousness,  made  of  God  to  us  righteousness, ^  that 
we  might  be  made  the  righteousness  of  God  in  him.^ 
For,  thus,  boasting  is  for  ever  excluded,  and  he  that 
glories  must  glory  in  the  Lord. 

(4.)  We  must  study  what  we  shall  render  to  him 
who  has  loved  us,  who  has  so  loved  us.  Let  us  mention 
it  to  his  praise,  take  all  occasions  to  speak  of  that 
great  love  wherewith  he  loved  us,  in  purchasing  for 
us  the  remission  of  that  great  debt.  We  cannot 
expect  an  interest  in  Christ  and  his  righteousness, 
unless  we  be  willing  to  own  our  obligations  to  him, 
as  those  who  are  sensible  the  bonds  he  has  loosed 
us  from  *  bind  us  closely  and  constantly  to  him, 

(6.)  We  must  engage  ourselves  for  the  future^  that 
we  will  render  to  God  the  things  that  are  his,  and 
be  careful  not  to  run  in  debt  again.  If  we  would 
find  mercy,  we  must  not  only  confess  our  sins,  but 
forsake  them,  and  keep  close  to  the  way  of  onr  doty. 
Ceasing  to  do  evil,  and  learning  to  do  well,  are  the 
commanded  fruits  of  repentance,  and  without  those 


4  Ps.  cxxxviii.  a 
g  1  Cor.  i.  30. 


•  9  Tim.  i.  13. 
h  8  Cor.  ▼.  31. 


f  I  Cor.  iii.  1 1. 
*  Ps.  CXTi.  16. 


FORGIVENESS  OF  SIN. 


811 


we  cannot  expect  the  promised  fruits  of  it  Has 
God  graciously  remitted  us  our  arrears,  let  us  pay 
oor  rent  more  panctually  for  time  to  come.  Every 
day  is  a  rent  day  with  us,  and  we  most  be  careful, 
by  filling  up  time  with  duty,  and  doing  the  work  of 
every  day  in  its  day,  to  pay  our  rent  duly;  and 
wherein  we  come  short,  balance  our  accounts  with 
the  blood  of  Christ,  which  cleanses  from  all  sin,*'  by 
a  renewed  application  of  the  virtue  of  that  to  our 
souls;  and  thus  keep  touch  with  him  who  is,  and 
ever  will  be,  faithful  to  us.  Have  we  wasted  our 
talents,!  and  so  contracted  debt,  and  yet  are  we  still 
intrttsted  with  them?  Let  us  henceforth  be  more 
diligent  in  the  improvement  of  them,  that  by  the 
blessing  and  grace  .of  oor  Master,  our  five  talents 
may  be  made  other  five,  and  we  may  have  our  Mas- 
ter's approbation,  and  enter  at  length  into  his  joy. 
And  let  us  always  remember,  that  God  speaks  peace 
to  his  people,  and  to  his  saints,  on  this  condition, 
that  they  do  not  return  ag^n  to  folly.*" 

(6.)  Our  forgiving  others  is  made  the  indispensable 
coodition  of  our  being  forgiven  of  God.  Nothing 
can  be  more  express  than  this,  If  we  forgive  not  men 
their  tregpatses^  neither  will  our  Father  who  is  in  hea- 
ven forgive  us  ours.^  For  God  will  have  his  children 
to  be  like  him,  merciful  as  he  is  merciful,  and  good 
as  he  is,  even  to  the  evil  and  unthankful.  That  ser- 
vant in  the  parable,  who  was  rigorous  in  exacting  a 
small  debt  from  his  fellow-servant,  by  that  instance 
of  the  hardness  of  his  heart  made  it  to  appear,  that 
he  was  never  truly  humbled  for  his  own  debt  to  his 
Lord,  that  great  debt,  nor  ever  truly  sensible  of  his 
Lord's  kindness  to  him  in  forgiving  it  ,*  and  there- 
fore, his  repentance  being  counterfeit,  his  pardon 
was  never  ratified,  but  he  was  delivered  to  the  tor- 
mentors, as  a  wicked  servant® 

Let  this  consideration  prevail  to  pacify  the  most 
provoked,  and  mollify  the  most  severe  ;  let  it  not  only 
suppress  every  root  of  bitterness  in  us,  but  extirpate 
it  and  pluck  it  up :  let  us  not  harbour  the  least 
tboa^bts  of  malice  and  revenge  against  those  wbo 
have  been  any  way  injurious  tons,  nor  render  to  any 
evil  for  evil,  nor  be  extreme  to  mark  what  is  done 
amiss  against  as ;  for  what  then  shall  we  do,  when 
Gtf^  riseth  up,  and  when  he  visiteth,  what  shall  we 
anncer  him  .'r 

And  now,(bretbrcn,)  having  very  briefly  and  plainly 
opened  to  you  this  great  concern  that  lies  between 
>oa  and  God,  I  must  leave  it  to  you  to  make  the 
application  of  what  has  been  said,  each  of  you  to 
yourselves  ;  nay,  I  hope  you  have  been  applying  it 
as  we  have  gone  along ;  for  these  are  things  of  which 
none  of  us  can  say.  They  belong  not  to  us.  Leave 
it  to  you,  did  I  say  ? — I  leave  it  with  God  by  his  Spi- 
rit to  apply  it  to  all  your  consciences,  that  you  may 
be  delivered  into  the  mould  of  these  great  truths.     I 


V  1  Jdm  1. 7.    1  Matt.  xxv.  SO.    m  Pt.  Ixxxv.  S    n  Matt  vi.  14,  lA 
•  Matt  xviii.  39,  34.  p  Job  xxxi.  14.  q  Hag.  i.  5. 


shall  therefore  close  only  with  a  few  words  of  ex* 
hortation  upon  the  whole  matter. 

1.  Do  not  delay  to  come  to  an  account  with  your 
own  consciences,  but  search  diligently  and  impar- 
tially, that  you  may  see  how  matters  stand  between 
you  and  God.  Consider  your  ways,'*  search  and  try 
themJ  Commune  with  your  own  hearts,  saying,  What 
have  I  done  ?  What  have  I  done  amiss  ?  Take  an 
account  of  your  debts  to  God,  as  all  prudent  trades- 
men do  of  their  debts  to  those  with  whom  they  deal. 
Think  how  many  the  particulars  are,  how  great  the 
sum  total  is,  and  what  circumstances  have  enhanced 
the  debt,  and  run  it  op  to  a  great  height ;  how  ex^* 
needing  sinful  your  sins  have  been,  how  exceeding 
hateful  to  God,  and  hurtful  to  yourselves.  Put  that 
question  to  yourselves  which  the  unjust  steward  put 
to  his  lord's  debtors.  How  much  owest  thou  unto  my 
Lord?  and  tell  the  truth  as  they  did,  for  themselves ; 
and  do  not  think  to  impose  upon  God,  by  making 
the  matter  better  than  it  is,  as  the  steward  did  for 
them,  writing  fifty  for  a  hundred.* 

2.  Be  thoroughly  convinced  of  your  misery  and 
danger  by  reason  of  sin  ;  see  process  ready  to  be 
taken  out  against  yon,  and  consider  what  is  to  be 
done :  it  is  no  time  to  trifle,  when  all  you  have  is 
ready  to  be  seized,  and  if  the  present  season  be 
slipped,  you  know  not  how  soon  the  things  that  be- 
long to  your  peace  may  be  for  ever  hid  from  your 
eyes,  and  you  will  rue  your  carelessness  when  it  is 
too  late  to  retrieve  what  you  have  lost  by  it. 

3.  Agree  with  your  adversary  quickly,  while  you 
are  in  the  way  with  him  ;*  make  your  peace  with 
God,  and  do  it  with  all  speed.  You  need  not  send 
to  desire  conditions  of  peace,*  they  are  ofiered  to  you, 
if  you  will  but  accept  of  them ;  and  they  are  not 
only  easy  but  very  advantageous.  Take  the  advice 
which  Solomon  gives  to  his  son  who  is  insnared  in 
suretyship.  Do  this,  my  son,  that  thou  mayest  deliver 
thyself,  go  humble  thyself,  and  thereby  thou  wilt  not 
only  pacify  an  adversary,  but  make  sure  a  friend : 
and  give  not  sleep  to  thine  eyes,  nor  slumber  to  thine 
eyelids,  till  thou  hast  done  this.^ 

4.  In  order  to  the  making  of  your  peace  with  God, 
make  sure  your  interest  in  Jesus  Christ,  and  make 
use  of  him  daily  for  that  purpose :  retain  him  of 
counsel  for  you  in  this  great  cause  on  which  your 
all  depends,  and  let  him  be  not  only  your  plea  but 
your  pleader,  for  that  is  his  office ;  If  any  man  sin, 
and  so  run  into  debt,  we  have  an  advocate  with  the 
Father,^  who  is  ready  to  appear  for  us,  and  attends 
continually  to  this  very  thing.  Be  advised  by  him, 
as  the  client  is  by  his  counsel,  and  tiien  refer  your- 
selves to  him,  put  your  case  into  his  hand  and  say. 
Thou  shah  answer,  Lord,  for  me,  when  I  have  no- 
thing to  say  for  myself. 

5.  Renew  your  repentance  every  day  for  your  sins 


r  Lani.  lit  40. 
Q  Luke  xiv.  33. 


■  Luke  xvt  5,  6. 
y  Ptov.  vi.  3,  4. 


t  Matt  V.  25. 
w  I  John  it  I- 


812 


A  SERMON  ON  THE  FORGIVENESS  OF  SIN. 


of  dail J  infirmity,  and  be  earnest  witb  God  in  prayer 
for  the  pardon  of  them.  Hereby  we  give  to  God 
the  glory  of  his  never- failing  mercy,  which  abun- 
dantly pardons ;  and  to  Christ  the  glory  of  his  inex- 
haastible  merit  and  grace ;  and  keep  ourselves  con- 
tinually easy  by  leaving  no  guilt  to  lie  upon  the 
conscience  nnrepented  of.  '*  Even  reckonings  (we 
say)  make  long  friends.''  And  the  more  we  are 
humbled  for  our  daily  sins,  and  the  more  we  see  of 
our  obligation  to  Christ,  and  his  merit,  for  the  par- 
don of  them,  the  more  watchful  we  shall  be  against 
them,  and  the  more  careful  to  abstain  from  all  ap- 
pearances of  evil,  and  approaches  towards  it. 

Lastly,  Let  those  to  whom  much  is  forgiven,  love 
much.*    We  have  all  of  us  much  forgiven  us,  it  is  a 

X  Luke  vii  48, 43. 


yery  great  debt  from  which  we  have  been  discharged; 
now  it  may  be  expected,  that  we  should  have  our 
hearts  accordingly  enlarged  in  gratitude  to  him  who 
Jhst  loved  us,  who  mo  loved  us,  and  gave  himself  for 
us,  loved  us  and  washed  us  from  our  sins  in  his  own 
blood.  How  shall  we  express  our  love  to  him  ?  What 
box  of  precious  ointment  shall  we  pour  upon  his 
head  ?  What  song  of  love  shall  we  sing  to  his  praise! 
O  that  the  love  of  Christ  may  constrain  us?  to  love 
him,  and  live  to  him,  who  loved  us  and  died  for  ns; 
to  be  faithful  and  constant  in  our  love  to  him,  who 
having  loved  his  own  which  were  in  the  world,  loveth 
them  unto  the  end,*  and  will  love  them  all  at  length 
into  the  world  of  everlasting  love. 


7  2  Cor.  V.  14 


«  John  xULl. 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED : 


IN 


A  SERMON, 


PREACHED  AT  THE  TUESDAY  LECTURE,  AT  SALTERS  HALL, 

JULY,  24th,  1711. 


Psalm  cxlvii.  11. 

The  Lord  tmkeik  pleasure  in  them  that  fear  him,  in 
those  that  hope  in  hie  mercy. 

The  dignity  and  privilege  of  the  righteous,  who  are 
God's  favourites,  here  appear  bright  and  blessed, 
very  blessed,  very  bright;  and  to  an  eye  of  faith, 
the  lustre  of  them  far  exceeds  even  that  of  crowns 
aod  coronets ;  though  their  honour  like  their  life  is 
hidden,*  and,  therefore,  the  world  knows  them  not.^ 
What  can  prove  them  more  great,  what  more  happy, 
thaa  this,  that  the  God  of  heaven  tahee  pleasure  in 
them? 

That  God  should  be  at  peace  with  any  of  the  chil- 
dreo  of  men,  (that  degenerate,  guilty,  and  obnoxious 
race,)  is  more  than  we  could  have  expected,  con- 
sidering his  justice  and  holiness ;  but  that  he  should 
takt  pleasure  in  them,  should  set  them  apart  for 
himself,^  gather  them  in  his  arms,  carry  them  in 
his  bosom,*'  value  them  as  his  peculiar  treasure,  and 
make  them  up  as  his  jewels;*  this  is  that  which 
eternity  itself  will  he  little  enough,  and  short  enough, 
to  be  spent  in  the  thankful  admiration  of.  Lord, 
vket  is  man  thai  thou  shouldst  thus  magnify  him,  and 
ut  thine  heart  upon  him  f 

God  takes  pleasure  in  his  saints,  that  is,  in  his 
own  image  upon  them :  he  rejoiceth  in  the  worh  of 
kis  own  hands/  Not  that  God  is  capable  of  receiv- 
ing any  addition  to  the  infinite  complacency  he  takes 
io  himself,  and  in  his  own  perfections,  from  any 
creature;  but  thus  he  is  pleased  to  express  the 
favour  he  bears  to  his  chosen.^  He  delights  not  in 
tkt  strength  of  a  horse,  (so  it  is  said  in  the  foregoing 
verse,)  he  taheth  not  pleasure  in  the  legs  of  a  man,^ 
Princes  and  great  men  take  delight  in  these,  both 
for  their  entertainment,  they  divert  themselves  with 
horse  races  and  foot  races,  and  for  their  service,  they 


•  Col.  iii.  3. 

*  laa.  xLll. 


b  1  John  fit.  t. 


e  P«.  iv.  3. 
•  Mat  iii.  17. 


make  use  of  horse  guards  and  foot  guards,  bring  into 
the  field  squadrons  of  horse  and  battalions  of  foot,  and 
review  their  troops  with  a  great  deal  of  satisfaction. 
But  does  God  do  so  ?  No,  he  tahes  pleasure  in  them  that 
fear  him  :  he  delights  to  behold  the  righteous ^^  delights 
to  converse  with  them,  invites  them  into  fellowship 
with  himself,  and  with  them  his  secret  is.  He  de- 
lights to  employ  them,  and  makes  them  the  instru- 
ments of  his  glory  :  and  herein  he  magnifies  himself, 
that  he  has  pleasure  in  the  prosperity  of  his  servants,^ 

But  the  CHARACTER  here  given  of  God's  favourites 
is  THAT  for  the  sake  of  which  I  chose  this  text,  and 
which  I  shall  speak  more  largely  to.  They  are  such 
as  both  fear  God,  and  hope  in  his  mercy.  The  fear 
of  God  I  know  is  often  put  for  all  religion ;  but  it 
being  here  distinguished  from  a  hope  in  his  mercy, 
I  choose  rather  to  understand  it  in  a  more  limited 
sense,  as  signifying  a  dread  of  his  majesty. 

Fear  and  hope  are  passions  of  the  mind  so  con- 
trary the  one  to  the  other,  that,  with  regard  to  the 
same  object,  it  is  strange  they  should  meet  in  the 
same  laudable  character :  yet  here  we  see  they  do 
so,  and  it  is  the  praise  of  the  same  persons,  that  they 
both  fear  God,  and  hope  in  him. 

Whence  we  may  gaUier  this  doctrine : 
That  in  every  concern  that  lies  upon  our  hearts, 
we  should  still  endeavour  to  keep  the  balance 
even  between  hope  and  fear. 

We  know  how  much  the  health  of  the  body  de- 
l»ends  upon  a  due  temperament  of  the  humours,  such 
as  preserves  any  one  from  being  predominant  above 
the  rest ;  and  how  much  the  safety  and  peace  of  the 
nations  result  from  a  due  balance  of  trade  and  power, 
that  no  one  grow  too  great  for  its  neighbours :  and, 
so  necessary  is  it  to  the  health  and  welfare  of  our 
souls,  that  there  be  a  due  proportion  maintained  be- 
tween their  powers  and  passions,  and  that  the  one 
may  always  be  a  check  upon  the  other,  to  keep  it 

f  Pb.  civ.  31.  ff  Pb.  cvl.  4, 5.  b  Ps  cxlvii.  10. 

1  Pi.  zi.  7.  k  Ps.  xxxT.  27. 


814 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


from  ranning  into  extremes ;  as  in  these  affections 
mentioned  in  the  text.  A  holy  fear  of  God  must  be 
a  check  upon  our  hope,  to  keep  that  from  swelling 
into  presumption ;  and  a  pious  hope  in  God  must  be 
a  check  upon  our  fear,  to  keep  that  from  sinking 
into  despondency. 

This  balance  must,  I  say,  by  a  wise  and  steady 
hand,  be  kept  even  in  every  concern  that  lies  upon 
our  hearts,  and  that  we  have  thoughts  about  I  shall 
enumerate  those  that  are  of  greatest  importance. 

We  must  keep  up  both  hope  and  fear, 

I.  As  to  the  concerns  of  our  souls,  and  our  spi- 
ritual and  eternal  state. 

II.  As  to  our  outward  concerns,  relating  to  the 
body,  and  the  life  that  now  is. 

III.  As  to  the  public  concerns  of  the  church  of 
God,  and  our  own  land  and  nation. 

In  reference  to  each  of  these,  we  must  always 
study  and  strive  to  support  that  affection,  whether 
it  be  hope  or  fear,  which  the  present  temper  of  our 
minds  and  circumstances  of  our  case  make  necessary 
to  preserve  us  from  an  extreme. 

I.  Nothing  certainly  does  so  much  concern  us,  and 
ought  to  lie  so  near  our  hearts,  as  the  prosperity  of 
our  souls,  and  their  happiness  in  the  favour  of 
God,  and  their  fitness  to  serve  him  here,  and  enjoy 
him  for  ever.  This  certainly  ought  to  be  the  chief 
and  continual  care  of  every  man  in  this  life,  to  ap- 
prove himself  to  an  eternal  God  above  him,  and  to 
prepare  himself  for  an  everlasting  state  before  him. 
This  is  the  concern  of  the  better  part,  and  is  of  all 
other  the  most  weighty  concern.  Now,  for  the  due 
managing  of  this  concern,  it  is  requisite  that  we 
take  our  work  before  us,  and  give  each  part  of  it  its 
place  and  due  proportion,  so  as  that  one  devout 
affection  may  not  intrench  upon  and  exclude  ano- 
ther. As  the  beauty  of  God's  being  consists  in  the 
harmony  of  his  attributes,  so  the  beauty  of  his 
image  on  our  souls  consists  in  the  harmony  of  our 
graces,  and  the  concurrence  of  them  all  to  the  main- 
taining of  our  due  subjection  to  God,  and  due 
government  of  ourselves. 

In  eternity  there  is  neither  hope  nor  fear.  In 
heaven  they  are  both  lost  in  an  endless  fruition : 
glorified  saints,  as  they  are  for  ever  quiet  from  the 
^ear  of  evil,  and  out  of  the  reach  of  it,  so  they  have 
nothing  more  or  better  to  hope  for,  than  what  they 
are  already  entered  into  the  enjoyment  of;  and 
what  a  man  sees,  why  doth  he  yet  hope  for  ?^  In  hell 
they  are  both  lost  in  an  endless  despair :  they  have 
nothing  to  fear  there,  where  they  know  the  worst, 
and  must  feel  to  eternity  what  they  would  not  fear ; 
nor  have  they  any  thing  to  hope  for,  when  the  door 
of  mercy  is  shut  against  them,  and  a  great  gulf 
fixed  between  them  and  all  blessedness,  never  to  be 
removed.    But  in  our  present  state,  there  is  and 

1  Rom.  viii.  94.       m  Ps.  ci.  1.       n  Pa.  Ixviii.  4, 5. 
o  laa.  Ivil.  1^.        p  laa.  Izvi.  1,2.         q  Ezod.  xzxiv.  6, 7. 


must  be  a  mixture  both  of  hope  and  fear ;  and  we 
must  keep  up  our  communion  with  God,  and  do  oor 
duty  to  him  by  the  seasonable  exercises  of  bolb  : 
and  thus  we  must  sing  both  of  mercy  and  judgment^ 
and  sing  unto  God  of  both.i^ 

1.  We  must  keep  up  both  a  holy  dread  of  God^ 
and  a  humble  delight  in  him;  both  a  reverence  of  fa  is 
majesty,  with  a  fear  of  incurring  his  displeasure, 
and  at  the  same  time  a  joy  in  his  love  and  grace, 
and  an  entire  complacency  in  his  beauty  and  boanty, 
and  that  benignity  of  his  which  is  better  than  life. 

Our  affections  toward  God  must  correspond  with 
the  discoveries  he  has  made  of  himself  to  us.  As  be 
has  proclaimed  his  name  for  our  instruction,  so  we 
must  proclaim  it  to  his  praise.  Now  in  God  there  is 
both  every  thing  that  is  awful,  and  every  thing  tbat 
is  amiable  ;  and  in  his  manifestations  of  himself  he 
seems  to  have  taken  a  delight  in  putting  these  to- 
gether, and  setting  the  one  over  against  the  other. 
When  he  makes  him.self  known  in  his  greatness,  as 
riding  on  the  heavens,  by  his  name  J  AH,  he  adds,  in 
the  next  words,  this  instance  of  his  goodness,  that  he 
is  a  Father  of  the  fatherless,  and  a  Judge  for  the 
widows.'*  Is  he  the  high  and  lofty  One  that  inhabits 
eternity,  and  dwells  in  the  holy  place  ?•  Yet  we 
must  know  that  with  this  man  he  will  dwell,  to  this 
man  he  will  look,  that  is  of  a  contrite  and  humble 
spiritP  And  on  the  other  hand,  when  he  tells  as  how 
gracious  he  is  in  forgiving  iniquity,  transgression, 
and  sin,^  he  tells  us  presently  how  just  he  is  also, 
that  he  will  by  no  means  clear  the  impenitently 
guilty. 

Thus,  therefore,  must  we  have  an  eye  to  him,  both 
as  he  is  infinitely  great,  and  greatly  to  be  feared, 
and  as  he  is  infinitely  good,  and  greatly  to  be  loved. 
And  as  no  love  one  degree  short  of  perfect  must  c^ast 
out  all  fear;'  so  no  fear,  in  those  who  have  received 
the  Spirit  of  adoption,  must  damp  the  delight  which, 
as  children,  we  must  have  in  our  Father.^  We  must 
both  fear  God's  name,  and  love  it;  both  fear  the 
commandment,  and  love  it.  We  must  delight  our- 
selves always  in  the  Lord  ;  and  yet  we  mast  make 
him  our  fear  and  our  dread,'  and  be  in  the  fear  of 
him  every  day,  and  all  the  day  long.  In  the  duties 
of  religious  worship,  we  must  know  our  disparity  ; 
and  in  consideration  of  that  we  must  serve  him  with 
reverence  and  godly  fear,"  because  God,  even  our 
God,  though  he  be  a  rejoicing  light  to  those  w^ho 
serve  him  faithfully,  yet  he  is  a  consuming  fire  to 
those  who  trifle  with  him:  but  we  must  also  knovr  our 
privilege,  and  draw  near  to  him  in  full  assurance  of 
faith,  and  must  serve  the  Lord  with  gladness.^ 

2.  We  must  keep  up  both  a  trembling  for  sin,  an>l 
a  triumphing  in  Christ,  as  the  propitiation  ybf  sin. 
We  must  be  afraid  of  the  curse,  and  the  terrors  of 
it,  and  yet  must  rejoice  in  the  covenant,  and   the 

r  1  John  1v.  18.  •  Ps.  xxxvii.  4.  tlsa.  viii.  13. 

u  Ueb.  xii.  28.  ▼  Hebu  x.  22. 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


815 


ncbes  and  graces  of  it.  With  one  eye  we  mast  look 
at  the  fiery  serpents,  and  see  what  danger  we  are  in 
by  our  hairing  been  stung  by  them ;  but  with  the 
other  eye  we  most  look  up  to  the  brazen  serpent  ■ 
lifted  ap  on  the  pole,  and  see  what  a  fair  way  we 
are  in  of  being  helped  and  healed  by  looking  to  it 
Look  unio  me  (saith  Christ)  and  be  ye  Mated. 

We  mast  not  so  look  apon  the  comforts  of  the 
pspel,  as  to  forget  the  condemnation  of  the  law, 
and  that  we  are  guilty  before  God,  and  liable  to  that 
condeoination :  which  we  must  be  ever  mindful  of, 
that  we  may  daily  reflect  with  regret  upon  sin,  and 
may  be  quickened  to  flee  from  the  wrath  to  come, 
and  to  flee  for  refuge  to  the  hope  set  before  us ;  and 
tiiat  knowing  the  terrors  of  the  Lord,  we  may  be 
persuaded  to  stand  in  awe  and  not  sin.  And  yet 
we  must  not  so  look  upon  the  condemnation  of  the 
law,  as  to  forget  that  we  are  under  grace,  and  not 
under  the  law  ;*  and  that  we  have  a  Redeemer  to 
rejoice  in,  and  with  an  entire  confidence  to  rely 
upon,  who  died  to  save  his  people  from  their  sins. 
We  mast  look  upon  sin,  and  be  humbled,  and  be 
afraid  of  God's  wrath  ;  but  at  the  same  time  we  must 
look  upon  Christ,  and  be  satisfied,  and  hope  in  his 
mercy. 

3.  We  must  keep  up  both  ajealouty  of  ourselve», 
and  of  our  own  sincerity ;  and  a  gratrfnl  thankful 
sense  of  GotiTi  grace  in  «#,  and  the  workings  of  that 
grace.  It  is  true,  the  heart  of  man  is  deceitful 
above  all  things,'  and  in  nothing  more  so  than  in  its 
jadgment  of  itself.  We  are  all  apt  to  be  partial  in 
our  own  favours ;  to  say  we  are  rich  and  increased 
vitk  goods,  when  we  do  not  know,  or  will  not  own, 
that  we  are  wretched  and  miserable.^  We  have 
therefore  reason  to  fear  lest  we  should  be  mistaken, 
lest  our  graces  should  prove  counterfeit,  and  we 
should  be  rejected  as  hypocrites  at  last  And  O 
that  those  who  live  a  carnal,  worldly,  sensual  life, 
under  the  disguise  of  a  religious  profession,  were 
awakened  to  see  their  mistake  before  the  flames  of 
hell  awaken  them !  O  that  fearful ness  would  sur- 
prise those  who,  indeed,  are  hypocrites ;  and  that 
the  sinners  in  Zion  were  afraid ;  and  that  their  Tain 
hopes,  which  are  built  upon  the  sand,  might  be  taken 
down  before  they  are  thrown  down  ! 

But  let  not  those  who  fear  the  Lord,  and  obey  the 
voice  of  his  servant,  walk  in  darkness,  but  trust  in 
the  name  of  the  Lord,  and  stay  themselves  upon 
their  God.'  Let  not  those  who,  through  grace,  are 
brought  to  prefer  the  favour  of  God  before  the  smiles 
of  the  world,  and  are  more  in  care  about  the  things 
that  relate  to  the  soul  and  eternity,  than  about  those 
that  have  reference  only  to  the  body  and  time ;  let 
not  their  godly  jealousy  over  themselves  run  into  an 
extreme.  Let  them  not  be  upon  all  occasions  ar- 
raigning their  evidences,  and  questioning.  Is  the 


m  Jobo  ill.  14. 
n  Rev.  fii.  17. 


•  Rom.  vi.  14. 
r  ba.  1.  to. 


p  Jer.  xTii.  0. 
•  laa.  11. 13. 


Lord  among  ifi,  or  is  he  not  ?  Hearken  to  this,  you 
that  tremble  at  God's  word,  and  are  fearing  contin- 
ually every  day.*  How  can  you  say  you  do  not 
love  God,  when  yon  cannot  but  say  that  you  would 
not  for  all  the  world  wilfully  ofiend  him,  and  that 
there  is  nothing  you  desire  so  much  as  to  be  in  his 
favour,  and  in  communion  with  him  ?  And  there- 
fore, though  you  have  no  reason  to  trust  in  your  own 
merit,  yet  you  have  a  great  deal  of  reason  to  hope 
in  that  mercy  of  God,  which  accepts  the  willingness 
of  the  spirit,  and  overlooks  the  weakness  of  the 
flesh.'  Why  should  you  wrong  yourselves  by  bear- 
ing false  witness  against  yourselves;  as  they  do 
who  make  themselves  poor,  and  yet  have  great 
riches  ?"  And  why  should  you  wrong  God,  by  rob- 
bing him  of  the  honour  of  what  he  has  wrought  for 
you  ?  It  is  true,  we  must  not  be  proud  of  our  graces, 
but  we  must  be  thankful  for  them ;  we  must  not 
pretend  to  justify  ourselves  to  the  covenant  of  inno- 
cency,  for  we  are  not  innocent ;  yet  we  must  not 
therefore  reject  the  advantages  of  the  covenant  of 
grace,  nor  put  from  us  the  comforts  that  thence  flow. 

4.  We  must  keep  up  both  a  constant  caution  over 
our  goingSf  and  a  constant  confidence  in  the  grace  of 
God.  When  we  consider  how  weak  we  are ;  how 
apt  to  stumble  in  the  way,  and  wander  out  of  it,  apt 
to  tire,  and  apt  to  turn  aside ;  we  shall  see  cause 
enough  to  walk  humbly  with  God.  And  yet,  when 
we  consider  how  the  promises  of  divine  aids  are 
adapted  to  our  case  in  all  the  exigences  of  it,  how 
rich,  how  sure  they  are,  and  how  certainly  made 
good  to  all  those  who  depend  upon  them,  and  by 
faith  derive  strength  and  wisdom  from  them,  we 
shall  see  cause  enough  to  walk  boldly  with  God. 
He  wh<^  walks  uprightly,y  walks  with  a  good  assur- 
ance, and  may  travel  in  the  greatness  of  the  strength 
of  him  who  is  mighty  to  save. 

We  have  need  to  stand  always  upon  our  guard  ; 
as  knowing  that  our  way  lies  through  an  enemy's 
country,  where  we  have  reason  to  expect  that  am- 
bushes will  be  laid  for  us,  and  all  the  stratagems  of 
war  made  use  of  to  do  us  mischief.  We  have  need 
to  look  well  to  our  goings,  and  never  so  much  as  to 
feed  ourselves  without  fear,''  lest  our  table  should  be- 
come a  snare;*  nor  walk  abroad  without  trembling, 
lest  under  the  green  grass  there  should  be  a  snake ; 
lest  for  want  of  watchfulness  we  should  be  surprised 
by  a  sudden  temptation,  for  want  of  resolution  we 
should  be  overpowered  by  a  violent  temptation. 
Happy  is  the  man  who  thus  f caret h  always,'  as  seeing 
himself  never  out  of  the  reach,  no,  nor  ever  out  of  the 
way  of  Satan's  temptations,  till  he  comes  to  heaven. 

But  still  in  the  midst  of  this  fear  we  must  hope  in 
God's  mercy,  that  he  will  take  our  part  against  our 
spiritual  enemies,  will  watch  over  us  for  good,  will 
preserve  our  souls  from  sin,  from  every  evil  work, 

(  Mat.  zxTl.  41.         V  Prov.  xiii.  7.  v  Prov.  x.  9. 

»  Jade  19.  X  PsaL  Ixix.  22.         j  Prov.  xxviil.  14. 


816 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


the  only  thing  that  can  do  them  any  real  damage. 
What  Christ  said  to  St.  Paul,  when  he  was  buffeted 
by  a  messenger  of  Satan,  he  has  said  to  all  who, 
like  him,  fly  to  the  mercy  of  God,  and  continue  in- 
stant in  prayer :  My  grace  is  sufficient  for  thety* 
though  thou  hast  no  strength  of  thy  own  that  is  so. 
Infinite  Wisdom  knows  what  grace  thy  case  calls 
for ;  and  thou  sbalt  have  enough  to  secure  the  life 
and  happiness  of  thy  soul,  from  every  thing  that 
aims  at  its  death  and  ruin.  Be  strong  therefore  in 
the  Lord,  and  in  the  power  of  his  might ;  go  forth, 
and  go  on,  in  his  name ;  as  David  against  Goliah ; 
and  be  assured  that  the  God  of  peace,  the  God  of 
your  peace,  will,  in  order  to  that,  be  the  God  of 
your  victory ;  he  will  tread  Satan  under  your  feet, 
will  do  it  shortly,  will  do  it  effectually,  that  he  may 
be  to  eternity  the  God  otyour  triumphs. 

6.  We  must  keep  up  both  a  holy  fear  lest  we  come 
short,  and  a  yood  hope  that  through  grace  we  shall 
persevere.  If  we  rightly  understand  ourselves,  we 
cannot  but  be  often  looking  forward,  and  consider- 
ing what  will  be  our  last  end,  what  will  be  our  future 
state.  And  what  will  it  be  ?  Will  our  end  be  peace? 
Will  our  endless  condition  be  a  happy  one  ? 

Truly  when  we  look  upon  the  brightness  of  the 
crown  set  before  us,  and  our  own  meanness  and  un- 
worthiness  ;  when  we  look  upon  the  many  difficul- 
ties that  lie  in  our  way,  and  our  own  weakness,  and 
utter  inability  to  break  through  them ;  we  may  justly 
be  afraid,  lest  some  time  or  other  we  be  guilty  of  a 
fatal  miscarriage,  and  perish  at  last.  And  such  a 
fear  as  this  is  recommended  to  us  as  a  means  to 
keep  us  from  apostasy,  that  we  may  not  really  come 
short,  as  the  unbelieving  Israelites  did  of  Canaan : 
Let  us  fear  lest,  a  promise  being  left  us  of  entering  into 
his  rest,  any  of  us  should  seem  to  come  short,*  should 
do  any  thing  that  looks  like,  or  tends  towards,  a 
drawing  back  to  Egypt  again.  We  have  no  reason 
to  be  secure  ;  many  who  thought  they  stood,  stood 
as  high,  stood  as  firm  as  we,  yet  have  fallen,  have 
fallen  fatally  and  irrecoverably.  Let  us,  therefore, 
who  think  we  stand,  take  heed  lest  we  fall,**  and 
with  a  holy  fear  and  trembling  ^  let  us  be  continually 
working  out  our  salvation.  Vigilaniibus  non  dormi- 
entibus  succurrit  lex — The  vigilant,  not  the  negligent, 
are  favoured  by  the  law. 

Yet  let  not  this  fear  degenerate  into  amazement, 
nor  take  off  our  chariot  wheels,  or  make  us  drive 
heavily.  While  we  fear  lest  God  should  leave  us 
to  ourselves,  and  put  us  into  the  hand  of  our  own 
counsels,  as  justly  he  might,  and  then  we  are  un- 
done, let  us  hope  in  his  mercy,  that  having  begun 
a  good  work  in  us  he  will  perform  it.  If  it  be  the 
work  of  his  own  hands  he  will  not  forsake  it,  nay,  he 
will  perfect  it,  if  it  be  indeed  that  which  truly  con- 
cerns us.^    The  same  apostle  who  bids  us  fear  lest 


I  9  Cor.  xii.  9. 
c  Phil.  ii.  13. 


>  Heb.  iv.  I. 
4  Ps.  cxxxviii.  8. 


b  1  Cor.  X.  12. 
•  Heb.  ▼!.  11. 


we  come  short,  bids  us  give  diligence  to  a  full  assur- 
ance  of  hope  unto  the  end  ;*  for  faithful  is  he  that 
has  called  us,  faithful  is  he  that  has  promised,  who 
will  perform  his  promise,  and  perfect  his  call.  To 
him,  therefore,  let  us  commit  the  keeping  of  our 
souls  in  well  doing,  the  greatest  trust  to  the  best 
trustee ;  and  then  let  it  be  our  comfort  that  we  Anote? 
whom  we  have  trusted,  even  one  who  is  ahU  to  heep 
what  we  have  committed  to  him  against  that  day,^  when 
it  shall  be  called  for. 

Thus  you  see  how  in  the  g^at  concerns  of  our 
souls  there  is  occasion  both  for  hope  and  fear,  and 
each  have  their  work  to  do,  so  that  the  two  ex- 
tremes of  presumption  and  despair,  those  dangerous 
rocks,  may  be  avoided.  This  is  the  levelling  work 
by  which  the  way  of  the  Lord  is  to  be  prepared  :  by 
a  good  hope,  every  valley  shall  be  exalted,  and  by  a 
holy  fear,  every  mountain  and  hill  shall  be  brought 
low.v  And  thus  the  glory  of  the  Lord  being  revealed, 
all  flesh  shall  see  it  together. 

II.  The  balance  must  likewise  be  kept  even  be- 
tween hope  and  fear,  as  to  our  temporal  concerns, 
about  which  we  cannot  be  wholly  unconcerned. 
Many  cares  we  have  upon  our  hearts  about  our  life, 
health,  ease,  and  safety;  about  our  callings  and 
estates,  and  the  prosperity  of  them ;  our  reputation 
and  interest  among  men ;  our  relations  and  families, 
and  our  comfort  in  them :  all  these  we  hold  between 
hope  and  fear,  and  must  take  heed,  that  when  things 
look  ever  so  hopeful  we  be  not  rocked  asleep  in 
security ;  and  when  they  look  ever  so  frightful,  we 
do  not  faint  away  in  despondency. 

I.  When  the  world  smiles  upon  us,  and  our  affairs 
in  it  prosper,  yet  then  we  must  keep  up  a  holy  fear, 
and  not  be  too  confident  in  our  pleasing  prospects  ; 
not  flatter  ourselves  with  hopes  of  the  great  ad- 
vancement and  long  continuance  of  our  peace  and 
prosperity ;  but  balance  the  hopes  which  sense  sug- 
gests, with  the  fears  which  reason  and  religion  will 
suggest.  When  our  bodies  are  in  health,  and  we 
are  in  our  full  strength,  the  breasts  full  of  milk,  and 
the  bones  moistened  with  marrow  ;*>  when  our  rela- 
tions are  all  agreeable,  and  such  as  we  could  wish  ; 
when  our  affairs  are  in  a  good  posture,  the  trade 
growing,  the  credit  firm,  and  every  thing  running  in 
our  favour ;  yet  even  then  we  must  fear  God,  and 
the  turns  of  his  providence  against  us,  remembering 
that  in  such  as  fear  him  he  takes  pleasure. 

Let  us  not  say  at  such  a  time,  as  David  said  in 
his  prosperity,*  /  shall  never  be  moved^  my  mountain 
stands  so  strong,  that  nothing  can  stir  it,  nothing 
shake  a  state  of  health  so  confirmed,  a  reputation  so 
established  ;  or  as  Job  said  in  his  prosperity,  /  »haU 
die  in  my  nest,  and  multiply  my  days  as  the  sand  ;^  or 
as  Babylon  in  the  height  of  her  grandeur,  /  shall  be 
a  lady  for  ever}  I  sit  as  a  queen,  and  shall  see  no  sor^ 


f  STinLl.  13. 
i  Pi.  zxx.  S. 


f!  In.  si.  a  4. 
k  Job  xxlx.  la 


h  Job  xxi.  M. 
1  ba.  xlvii.  7. 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


817 


row.'^  Let  us  never  promise  ourselves,  that  because 
this  day  smiles  upon  us,  to-morrow  must  needs  be 
as  this  day,  and  much  more  abundant ;°  since  we 
know  not  what  shall  be  on  the  morrow,  nor  what 
one  day  may  bring  forth.  Let  us  not  put  the  evil 
day  far  from  us,  which  for  ought  we  know  may  be 
Tcry  near,  and  at  the  door.  But,  to  prevent  the 
security  we  are  in  danger  of  falling  into  at  such  a 
time, 

(I.)  Let  us  keep  up  an  awful  regard  to  the  sove- 
reignty of  the  Divine  Providence,  and  its  disposals 
of  us  and  ours.  We  are  in  its  hands,  as  clay  is  in 
the  band  of  the  potter,e  to  be  formed,  unformed, 
new  formed,  as  be  pleases.  That  which  seemed 
designed  for  a  vessel  of  honour,  is  either  marred,  or 
with  one  turn  of  the  wheel  made  a  despised  vessel, 
in  which  there  is  no  pleasure :  and  shall  we  say, 
dare  we  say.  Why  hast  thou  made  me  thus  ?  May  not 
God  do  what  he  will  with  his  own  creature  ?  and 
shall  he  not  fulfil  his  own  counsel,  whether  we  refuse^ 
or  whether  we  choose  ?^  for  we  are  sure  he  is  debtor 
to  no  man. 

Whatever  we  have,  it  was  God  who  gave  it  us ; 
and  we  said  when  we  had  it.  Blessed  be  the  name  of 
tke  Lordy^  who  in  a  way  of  sovereignty  gave  that  to 
Ds,  which  he  denied  to  others  more  deserving :  and 
whatever  we  lose,  it  is  God  who  takes  it  away  ;  and 
when  it  is  gone,  we  must  say.  Blessed  he  the  name  of 
the  Lord,  who  in  a  way  of  sovereignty  takes  from  us 
that  which  he  had  given  us,  and  does  us  no  wrong ; 
for  we  are  but  tenants  at  will  of  all  our  enjoyments, 
eren  of  life  itself,  and  may  be  turned  out  at  less  than 
an  hour's  warning,  for  our  times  are  in  God's  hands, 
not  in  our  own. 

It  is  true,  that  godliness  has  the  promise  of  the 
hit  that  now  is ;  but  we  must  take  heed  of  misunder- 
standing those  promises  which  relate  to  temporal 
irood  things,  which  are  all  made  with  this  implicit 
proviso.  As  far  as  is  for  God's  glory  and  our  good  ; 
and  further  than  those,  if  we  love  cither  God  or  our- 
selTes,  we  shall  not  desire  them.  It  is  promised, 
that  it  shall  be  well  with  them  tliat  fear  God  ;  but  it 
ii  not  promised  that  they  shall  be  always  rich  and 
i:reat  in  the  world,  always  in  health,  and  at  ease. 
It  is  promised,  that  no  evil  shall  befall  them,  nothing 
that  shall  do  them  any  real  hurt ;  but  it  is  not  pro- 
mised that  no  affliction  shall  befall  them,  for  there 
may  be  need,  that  for  a  season  they  should  be  in  hea- 
viness, and  it  shall  be  for  their  advantage. 

(2.)  Let  us  keep  up  a  full  conviction  of  the  vanity 
of  this  world,  and  the  uncertainty  of  all  our  enjoy- 
ments In  it  We  are  very  unapt  scholars,  if  we  have 
not  learned,  even  by  our  own  experience  and  obser- 
TatioD,  that  there  are  no  pleasures  here  below  that 
are  lasting,  but  they  are  all  dying  things  ;  and  that 
often  proves  least  safe  that  is  most  dear.    They  are 


«  Rev.  xviii.  7.    a  \i 


Ivi.  12.    o  Jer.  xviii.  4, 8.    p  Jobxxxiv.  33. 
3  G 


as  flowers  which  will  soon  fade,  and  the  sooner  for 
being  much  smelled  to ;  as  snow  which  will  soon 
melt,  and  the  sooner  for  being  taken  up  in  our  hands, 
and  laid  in  our  bosoms.  The  things  we  dote  so 
much  upon  make  themselves  wingS'  (though  we 
should  not  by  our  own  improvidence  and  prodigality 
make  them  wings)  and  flee  away  as  an  eagle  towards 
heaven.  And  shall  we  then  set  our  eyes  and  hearts 
upon  things  that  are  not,  the  fashion  of  which  pass- 
eth  away,  and  we  with  it? 

The  things  we  are  so  fond  of,  we  call  good  things, 
though  if  we  have  not  grace  to  use  them  well,  and 
to  do  good  VFith  them,  they  are  to  us  good  for  nothing. 
But  the  Scripture  calls  them  deceitful  riches,  and  the 
mammon  of  unrighteousness,  because  they  put  a  cheat 
upon  those  who  depend  upon  them,  and  trust  in 
them ;  they  are  not  what  they  seem,  perform  not  what 
they  promise,  nor  last  so  long  as  one  would  think 
they  should.  What  God  has  graciously  promised 
us  in  them,  they  do  perform,  but  not  what  we  fool- 
ishly promise  ourselves  from  them :  so  that  if  we  are 
deceived,  we  may  thank  ourselves ;  it  is  our  own 
fault  for  trusting  to  them.  They  perish  in  the  using,* 
much  more  in  the  abusing.  Let  those,  therefore, 
who  are  rich  in  this  world,  receive  the  apostle's 
charge,  not  to  trust  in  uncertain  riches,  because  they 
are  uncertain  ;  nor  to  lay  up  their  treasure  in  them, 
because  our  estates  as  well  as  our  bodies  are  subject, 
both  to  diseases,  for  moth  and  rust  corrupt  them, 
and  to  disasters,  for  thieves  breah  through  and  steal 
them.  What  assurance  can  we  have  of,  what  con- 
fidence can  we  put  in,  those  goods,  which  may  be 
lost  in  an  instant  by  the  firing  of  a  house,  or  the 
foundering  of  a  ship  at  sea,  by  the  unsuspected  fraud 
of  those  we  deal  with,  or  the  overpowering  force  of 
those  we  contend  with  ?  How  can  we  call  that  our 
own,  which  is  so  much  in  others'  hands,  or  think  to 
hold  that  fast ;  when  even  that  which  is  in  our  hand 
slips  through  our  fingers  like  dust,  especially  if  wc 
grasp  it  hard. 

(3.)  Let  us  keep  up  an  humble  sense  of  our  own 
undeservings  and  ill-deservings.  We  shall  see  a . 
great  deal  of  reason  not  to  be  confident  of  the  con- 
tinuance of  our  creature-comforts,  when  we  consider 
that  we  are  not  worthy  of  the  leasts  of  them,  no,  not 
of  the  crumbs  that  fall  from  the  table  of  common 
providence ;  and  if  we  were  not  worthy  to  have 
them,  much  less  are  we  worthy  to  have  them  long, 
and  to  have  them  secured  to  us.  Nay,  we  have  for- 
feited them  all  a  thousand  times  by  our  abuse  of 
them;  and  God  might  justly  take  the  forfeiture. 
He  who  is  in  debt  is  continually  in  fear,  lest  all  he 
has  be  suddenly  seized  on  :  it  is  our  case ;  we  are 
in  debt  to  the  justice  of  God,  and  what  can  we  ex- 
pect, but  to  be  stript  of  all  ? 

We  had  been  so  long  ago,  if  God  had  dealt  with 


q  Job  i.  21.     r  Prov.  xxili.  ft.     ■  Col.  ii.22.    t  Qen.  xxxii.  10. 


818 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


us  according  to  our  sins ;  so  that  we  have  lived  all 
oar  days  upon  forfeited  favours,  which  therefore  we 
can  have  no  assurance  of  the  continuance  of. 

Though  we  have  the  testimony  of  our  consciences 
for  us,  that  what  we  have  we  have  got  honestly, 
and  not  by  fraud  and  oppression ;  and  that  we  have 
used  it  charitably,  and  in  some  measure  honoured 
God  with  it,  which  is  the  likeliest  way  both  to  secure 
it  and  to  increase  it ;  yet  even  then  we  must  not  be 
secure,  for  God  has  seen  that  amiss  in  us,  which  we 
have  not  seen  in  ourselves  ;  and  there  is  none  who 
can  say,  /  have  mada  my  heart  clean^  lam  pure  from 
«tn.  We  have  all  contracted  guilt  enough,  to  justify 
God  in  depriving  us  of  all  our  comforts  in  this  world ; 
and,  therefore,  have  no  reason  to  be  confident  of  the 
continuance  of  them,  but  a  great  deal  of  reason, 
whatever  we  lose,  to  say,  The  Lord  is  righteous, 

(4.)  Let  us  keep  up  a  lively  expectation  of  troubles 
and  changes  in  this  changeable,  troublesome  world. 
It  is  what  we  are  bid  to  count  upon,  and  can  look 
for  no  other  in  a  wilderness.  Time  and  chance  hap- 
pen to  all ;  why  then  should  they  not  happen  to  us  ? 
The  race  is  not  sure  to  the  swift,  nor  the  battle  to  the 
strong y  no,  nor  so  much  as  bread  to  the  wiscj  much  less 
riches  to  men  of  understanding,  or  favour  to  men  of 
shilL^  Why  then  should  we  think  them  sure  to  us  ? 
Can  you  and  I  imagine  that  the  world  should  be 
more  kind  and  more  constant  to  us,  than  it  has  been 
to  those  who  went  before  us  ?  You  have  read  the 
story  of  Job,  whom  the  rising  sun  saw  the  richest 
of  all  the  men  of  the  East,  but  the  setting  sun  left 
poor,  to  a  proverb.  You  have  in  your  own  time 
seen  those  who  were  once  worth  thousands,  so  re- 
duced that  they  and  theirs  have  wanted  necessary 
food  :  and  what  exemption  can  we  pretend  to  from 
the  common  calamities  of  human  life  ?  We  are  not 
better  than  our  fathers,  nor  better  than  our  prede- 
cessors. Shall  we  think  our  prosperity  more  firm 
than  that  of  others  has  been  ?  We  might  as  well 
think  that  the  earth  should  be  forsaken  for  us,  and 
the  rock  removed  out  of  its  place. 

Nay,  troubles  and  changes  are  good  for  us,  they 
are  necessary  for  us ;  the  temper,  or  rather  the  dis- 
temper, of  our  minds  make  them  so,  lest  we  grow 
proud  and  secure,  and  in  love  with  this  world.  We 
read  of  those  who  have  no  changes,  and  therefore 
they  fear  not  God  ;  who  are  not  in  trouble  as  other 
men,^  and  therefore  pride  compasses  them  about  as 
a  chain.^  Moab  has  been  at  ease  from  his  youth,*" 
and  has  not  by  changes  and  troubles  been  emptied 
from  vessel  to  vessel ;  and  therefore  he  is  settled  on 
his  lees,  is  grown  secure  and  sensual,  he  is  nnhum- 
bled  and  unreformed,  his  taste  remains  in  him^  and 
his  scent  is  not  changed.  We  have  therefore  reason 
to  expect  that  God  will  in  love  to  us  exercise  us 
with  crosses  and  afflictions,  that  he  may  remind  us 


a  Eccl.  ix.  II. 
Ps.  Ixxiii.  5, 6. 


»  Ps.  Iv.  19. 
K  Jer.  xlviii.  ii. 


what  we  are,  and  what  we  have  done  amiss,  may 
wean  us  from  this  world,  and  draw  out  our  thoughts 
and  affections  toward  that  world,  the  comforts  of 
which  know  no  changes. 

(5.)  Let  us  keep  up  serious  thoughts  of  death  ap- 
proaching, and  of  our  speedy  removal  to  another 
world.  Though  the  comforts  we  enjoy  should  not 
be  taken  from  us,  though  we  were  ever  so  sore  they 
should  not,  yet  we  know  not  how  soon  we  may  be 
taken  from  them,  and  then,  how  long  soever  they  may 
last,  they  are  ours  no  longer.  Do  we  not  perceive 
how  frail  our  nature  is  ?  Are  we  not  in  deaths  often, 
in  deaths  always,  in  death  even  in  the  midst  of  life  ? 
Do  we  not  see  ourselves,  wherever  we  are,  standing 
upon  the  brink  of  eternity,  and  our  souls  continaally 
in  our  hands  ?  And  what  good  have  we  then  to  look 
for  in  this  world,  who  are  hastening  apace  ont  of  it, 
and  can  carry  nothing  away  with  us  ?  What  is  our 
strength  that  we  should  hopef^  If  we  wait  for  a 
larger  and  finer  house  than  what  we  now  live  in 
upon  earth,  before  it  falls  to  us  perhaps  the  g^rave 
may  be  our  house,  and  we  may  make  our  bed  in  the 
darkness.  And  when  our  days  are  past,  with  them 
our  purposes  are  broken  off,  even  the  thoughts  of  oar 
heart;  we  and  our  hope  go  down  together  to  the  bars 
of  the  pit,  when  our  rest  is  in  the  dust.* 

Death  will  put  a  period  to  all  our  hopes  in  this 
world,  and  to  all  our  enjoyments:  how  loose  there- 
fore should  we  sit  to  them,  when  life  itself  han^s  so 
loose !  He  who  said,  Soui,  take  thine  ease,  thou  hast 
goods  laid  up  for  many  years,  eat,  drinh,  and  he  fmerry, 
was  by  this  proved  a  fool,  that  that  very  night  his 
soul  was  by  death  required  of  him  ;*  and  then  u^hose 
shall  all  these  things  be  which  he  has  provided^  and 
promised  himself  so  much  from  ?  None  of  his  we 
may  be  sure.  Let  us  therefore  be  so  wise  as  to  (in- 
sider our  latter  end,  and  be  daily  mindful  of  it,  and 
then  we  shall  not  be  such  fools  as  to  rely  upon  any 
thing  in  this  world  for  a  portion  and  happiness  :  we 
see  we  have  here  no  continuing  city,  let  us  therefore 
seek  and  look  for  one  that  is  to  come.** 

Let  me  now  press  this  caution  upon  those  whose 
hopes  are  most  apt  to  rise  high  from  this  world,  that 
in  order  to  the  keeping  of  the  balance  even,  they 
may  maintain  a  holy  fear,  and  not  grow  secnre  : 

[1.]  You  who  are  young,  and  setting  out  in  the 
world,  must  be  reminded  not  to  expect  great  things 
in  it.  You  hope  you  shall  do  as  well  as  the  best ; 
but  it  may  prove  otherwise,  that  you  may  fare  in  it 
as  ill  as  the  worst.  You  are  apt  to  look  at  the  things 
of  the  world  through  that  end  of  the  perspective  glass 
that  magnifies  them,  and  to  count  upon  having  every 
thing  to  your  mind,  as  if  there  were  nothing  bnt  prizes 
in  the  world's  lottery  ;  and  so  lay  a  foundation  for 
the  greater  grief  in  the  disappointment,  when  what- 
ever prizes  others  may  have,  you,  perhaps,  may  have 


J  Job  vi.  II. 
a  Luke  xii.  19,  ao. 


sJobxvii.  II,  13»16. 

b  Heb.  xiii. 


14. 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


619 


nothing  bat  blanks  to  your  share :  and  then  it  will 
be  fotty  "  to  curse  yoar  stars,"  (as  some  profanely 
speak,)  hviX  justice  to  reproach  yourselves  for  baild- 
ing  so  high  on  a  sandy  foundation,  and  promising 
yoursehes  satisfaction  of  spirit,  in  that  which  yon 
were  many  a  time  told  had  nothing  in  it  bat  vanity 
and  vexation  of  spirit  Think  not  too  well  of  your- 
selves, for  then  you  are  apt  to  prognosticate  nothing 
but  good  to  yourselves ;  bat  lay  yourselves  low,  and 
then  you  will  lay  your  expectations  low. 

[2.]  You  who  are  rich,  and  have  abundance  of 
Ibe  world,  do  not  make  that  abundance  your  strong 
eity,  and  a  high  wallf  for  it  is  not  so  really,  but 
only  in  your  own  conceit,  and  you  may  soon  find  it 
as  a  bowing  waliy  and  a  tottering  fence ;  a  broken 
reed,  which  will  not  only  fail  under  you,  bat  will  ran 
into  your  hand  and  pierce  it.  Keep  up  such  a  fear 
of  God  and  his  providence,  as  may  forbid  you  ever 
to  say  unto  the  gold.  Thou  art  my  Itope  ^  and  to  the 
fine  gold.  Thou  art  my  confidence;  for  if  the  Lord 
do  not  help  you^  much  more  if  he  turn  to  be  your 
enemy,  and  ligbt  against  you,  whence  can  the  world 
help  you,  out  of  the  ham-fioory  or  out  of  the  wine- 
press,'^ oat  of  the  farms,  or  out  of  the  merchandise  ? 

[3.]  You  who  are  cheerful  and  gay,  and  cast  away 
care,  who  walk  in  the  way  of  your  heart,  and  in  the 
sight  of  your  eyes,  and  withhold'  not  yourselves 
from  any  joy,  let  the  fear  of  God  be  a  check  to  your 
mirth,  and  restrain  it  from  growing  into  an  excess. 
You  may  perhaps  take  care  that  in  laughter  your 
hearts  shall  not  be  sad/  but  the  end  of  this  mirth 
may  be  heaviness  before  you  are  aware.  When  you 
rejoice  in  hope  of  the  glory  of  God,  that  hope  will 
not  make  you  ashamed ;  but  when  you  rejoice  in 
hope  of  the  wealth,  and  pomp,  and  pleasures  of  this 
world,  you  have  turar  reason  to  be  ashamed  that  you 
place  your  happiness  in  such  things,  and  will  at 
kngth  be  ashamed  that  you  looked  for  so  much  from 
them.  You  are  but  girding  on  the  harness,  and 
therefore  boast  not,  as  though  you  had  put  it  ojf^ 
^  not  high-minded,  but  fear ;  and  look  for  that, 
every  day,  which  may  come  any  day. 

2.  When  the  world  frowns  upon  us,  and  we  are 
crossed,  and  disappointed,  and  perplexed  in  our 
affairs,  then  we  must  keep  up  a  good  hope,  and  not 
be  inordinately  cast  down,  no,  not  in  our  melancholy 
prospects,  about  our  health,  our  safety,  our  name, 
oar  relations,  and  our  effects  in  the  world.  We 
most  not  at  any  time  burthen  ourselves  with  dis- 
tracting care,  vrhat  we  shall  eat,  and  what  wc  shall 
drink,  and  wherewithal  we  shall  be  clothed  ;**  but 
cajt  this  care  upon  God,  and  depend  upon  him  to 
care  for  us.*  We  must  not  in  the  worst  of  times 
torment  ourselves  with  amazing  fear,  as  if  every 
thing  that  threatens  us  must  needs  ruin  us,  and 
every  fresh  g^e  would  be  a  storm  presently ;  and  as 


eProT.  Tviil.  II. 
f  Prov.  adv.  13. 


4  Job  xzxi.  S4. 
f  1  Kings  XX.  II. 
do  2 


•  2  Kings  vi.  27. 
h  Matt.  vi.  26. 


if  every  mole-hill  of  difficulty  in  our  way  were  an 
insuperable  mountain.  How  black  soever  things 
look,  and  how  low  soever  we  are  brought,  we  must 
not  allow  ourselves  in  fearing  more  than  there  is 
cause,  nor  more  than  is  meet ;  we  must  not  frighten 
ourselves  with  the  creatures  of  our  own  imagina- 
tion, nor  suffer  our  fears  to  disquiet  our  minds,  and 
deprive  us  of  the  government  and  enjoyment  of  our- 
selves, to  damp  our  joy  in  God,  to  disturb  our  com- 
munion with  him,  and  discourage  our  dependence 
on  him. 

But  when  fear  weighs  down  the  balance  on  that 
side,  let  us  endeavour  to  keep  it  even,  to  keep  it 
from  sinking  into  despair,  by  maintaining  a  holy 
confidence  in  God,  even  as  to  our  outward  affairs : 
and  when  we  are  warned  to  get  ready  for  the  worsts 
we  must  still  hope  the  best ;  hope  that  things  are  not 
so  bad  as  they  seem  to  be,  that  they  will  not  be  so 
bad  as  they  are  feared  to  be ;  and  that  in  due  time 
they  will  be  better  than  they  are.  And  let  this  hope 
keep  our  head  above  water,  when  we  are  ready  to 
sink  into  despair ;  let  it  enable  us  to  check  ourselves 
for  being  cast  down  and  disquieted  ;^  for  as  bad  as 
things  are,  if  we  hope  in  God,  we  shall  yet  praise  him, 

(1.)  Hope  in  God's  power :  be  fully  assured  of  this, 
that  how  imminent  soever  the  danger  is,  he  can 
prevent  it ;  how  great  soever  the  straits  are,  he  can 
extricate  us  out  of  them,  can  find  out  a  way  for  us  in 
an  untracked  wilderness,  and  open  springs  of  water 
to  us  in  a  dry  and  barren  land :  for  with  him  nothing 
is  impossible,  nor  is  his  arm  ever  shortened,  nor  his 
wisdom  nonplused.  Let  us  honour  God,  by  a  firm 
belief  of  his  omnipotence ;  Lord,  if  thou  wilt  thou 
canst  mahe  me  whole,  thou  canst  mahe  me  clean,  thou 
canst  raise  me  up  from  a  low  estate,  and  raise  up 
friends  for  me  when  I  am  most  forlorn ;  by  trusting 
in  him  as  a  God  all-sufficient  when  creatures  fail, 
and  whom  we  may  rejoice  in  as  the  God  of  our  sal- 
vation, though  the  fig-tree  do  not  blossom,  and  there 
be  no  fruit  in  the  vine.  The  murmuring  Israelites 
did  not  in  any  thing  affront  God  so  much  as  in  say- 
ing. Can  God  furnish  a  table  in  the  wilderness?^  Can 
he  give  bread  also  f  As  if  any  thing  was  too  hard  for 
the  Lord. 

(2.)  Hope  in  his  providence ;  and  believe  not  only 
that  he  can  do  any  thing,  but  that  he  does  do  every 
thing ;  and  whatever  the  event  is,  God  does  therein 
pel  form  the  thing  that  is  appointed  for  vs,"*  and  takes 
cognizance  of  us  and  our  affairs,  how  mean  and 
despicable  soever  we  are.  The  great  God  has  all 
hearts  in  his  hand,  their  hearts  particularly  that  you 
have  dealings  with  and  dependence  on.  The  ships 
on  board  of  which  your  effects  are,  though  they  are 
afar  off  upon  the  sea,  are  under  God's  eye ;  and  he 
is  the  confidence  of  all  the  ends  of  the  earth,^  the 
remotest  plantations  where  your  concerns  lie.    And 


1 1  Pet.  V.  7.  k  Ps.  xliL  5. 

m  Job  XXV.  14. 


1  Ps.  Ixxviii.  19. 
n  Ps.  Ixv.  5 


820 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


shall  not  that  God  who  governs  the  world,  be  in- 
trusted with  the  disposal  of  your  concerns  ? 

Hope  in  the  usual  method  of  Providence,  which 
sets  prosperity  and  adversity  one  over  againtt  the 
other ;  and  when  the  ebb  is  at  the  lowest  makes  the 
tide  to  turn,  and  the  day  to  dawn  when  the  night  is 
at  the  darkest.  It  is  the  glory  of  Providence  to  help 
the  helpless,  to  raise  the  poor  out  of  the  dust,  and 
bring  back  even  from  the  gates  of  death  ;  to  breathe 
upon  dry  bones,  and  say  unto  them.  Live.  Let  this 
encourage  us  to  hope,  that  when  things  are  at  the 
worst  they  will  mend ;  and  therefore,  as  in  the  heights 
of  prosperity  we  must  rejoice  as  though  we  rejoiced 
not,  so  in  the  depths  of  adversity  we  must  weep  as 
though  we  wept  not ;  non  si  male,  nunc  et  olim,  sic 
erit — not  as  though,  because  circumstances  have  been 
and  are  adverse,  they  are  ever  to  remain  so.  God 
generally  comforts  his  people,  according  to  the  time 
that  be  has  afflicted  them.® 

(3.)  Hope  in  his  pity  and  tender  compassions; 
which  in  the  day  of  your  grief  and  fear,  you  are  to 
look  upon  yourselves  as  the  proper  objects  of.  The 
text  directs  us  particularly  to  hope  in  his  mercy ;  we 
must  depend  upon  the  goodness  of  his  nature  for 
that  which  we  have  not  an  express  promise  for. 
Let  this  silence  our  fear,  that  the  God  in  whose  hand 
our  times  are,  is  gracious  and  merciful,  does  not 
afflict  willingly,  nor  grieve  the  children  of  men,  much 
less  his  own  children,  but  when  there  is  cause,  and 
when  there  is  need,  and  therefore  will  not  always 
chide,  will  not  contend  for  ever;  but  though  he 
cause  grief,  be  will  have  coropassion.P  We  may 
with  a  good  assurance/a//  into  the  hands  of  the  Lord, 
(and  whose  hands  soever  we  fall  into,  they  are  his 
hands,)  for  we  know  that  his  mercies  are  great,  and 
those  who  hope  in  them  shall  find  them  so. 

(4.)  Hope  in  his  promise ;  that  word  of  his  upon 
which  he  hath  caused  us  to  hope,  and  which  we 
have  all  the  reason  in  the  world  to  build  npon,<i  for 
not  one  iota  or  tittle  of  it  shall  fall  to  the  ground. 
Though  he  has  not  promised  to  deliver  us  from  that 
particular  evil  we  have  a  dread  of,  or  to  give  us  that 
particular  comfort  and  success  we  are  desirous  of, 
yet  he  has  promised  that  nothing  shall  harm  them 
who  are  followers  of  him :  nay,  that  all  things  shall 
work  together  for  good  to  them;'  and  (which  is 
enough  to  silence  all  our  fears)  that  though  our  ca- 
lamities may  separate  us  from  the  dearest  comfort 
and  comforters  we  have  in  this  world,  yet  they  shall 
never  be  able  to  separate  us  from  the  love  of  God, 
which  is  in  Christ  Jesus  our  Lord,'  from  divine  com- 
forts, and  the  divine  Comforter. 

And  now,  who  is  there  here  that  stands  in  need  of 
this  caution  against  despondency  of  spirit  under  dis- 
couraging events,  and  to  whom  it  is  seasonable  to 
recommend  a  believing  hope  for  the  balancing  and 

•  P8.XC.  1&  p  Lam.  iii.  31,  32.  s  Ps.  cxix.  49. 

r  1  Pet  iii.  13.  •  Rom.  viii.  39. 


silencing  of  their  distnistful  fears  ?  Let  them  apply 
this  to  themselves,  and  make  use  of  the  hope  recom- 
mended to  them  as  an  anchor  of  the  soul,^  to  keep 
them  steady  in  a  storm. 

[1.]  You  who  are  beginning  the  world  with  fear 
and  trembling,  who  are  humble,  and  honest,  and 
diligent,  but  have  little  to  begpn  with,  have  many 
difficulties  to  break  through,  and  arc  very  diffident  of 
your  own  understanding ;  be  not  discouraged,  but 
hope  in  God's  mercy.  Your  friends  are  few,  unable 
to  help  you,  or  unkind  and  regardless  of  you  ;  father 
and  mother  have  perhaps  forsaken  you."  Know 
then  that  you  are  the  particular  care  of  Providence, 
which  gathers  the  outcasts,  and  provides  even  for 
young  ravens,  when  they  are  deserted.  Trust  in  the 
Lord,  therefore,  and  do  good,  so  shalt  thou  dwell  in 
the  land;  and  though  thou  be  not  feasted,  yet  verily 
thou  shalt  be  fed."  Though  the  beginning  be  small, 
the  latter  end  may  by  the  blessing  of  God  greatly  in- 
crease,* and  a  little  one  may  become  a  thousand. 

[2.]  You  who  have  concerns  that  lie  at  hazard,  in 
danger  at  sea,  or  of  being  a  prey  to  the  enemy ;  who 
have  debts  in  bad  hands,  or  dear  relations  that  you 
have  dependence  upon,  or  delight  in,  in  peril ;  give 
not  way  to  amazing  fear,  that  fear  which  has  tor- 
ment, but  hope  in  God's  mercy.  Give  not  up  any 
thing  for  gone,  till  it  is  gone  :  and  when  it  is  gone, 
yet  give  not  up  all  for  gone,  as  long  as  you  have  the 
good  providence  of  God  to  trust  to.  Say  not,  as 
David  in  his  haste,  I  am  cast  out  of  thy  sight,  or,  / 
shall  one  day  perish  by  the  hand  of  Saul ;  but  wait  on 
the  Lord,  and  be  of  good  courage,  resolved  to  wel- 
come his  holy  will,  whatever  it  be.  We  are  some- 
times told  that  the  merchants  are  in  pain  for  such  a 
ship,  such  a  fleet ;  you  think  at  such  a  time,  it  is 
only  the  news  of  their  safe  arrival  that  will  pat  you 
out  of  your  pain.  And  what  if  that  news  never 
come  ?  then  you  condemn  yourselves  to  a  lasting  un- 
easiness. But  let  me  recommend  that  to  you,  which 
will  make  you  easy,  whatever  the  event  be  ;  commit 
your  way  to  God,  by  a  believing  prayer,  and  submit 
your  will  to  God  by  a  penitent  resignation ;  and  then 
let  your  thoughts  be  established. 

[3.]  You  who,  by  the  providence  of  God,  are  from 
fulness  reduced  to  straits,  have  met  with  losses  which 
you  think  can  never  be  repaired,  and  conclude  yoa 
shall  never  see  a  good  day  again,  but  are  undone  to 
all  intents  and  purposes  ;  do  not  give  way  to  these 
desponding  thoughts,  but  hope  in  the  mercy  of  God, 
that  mercy  which  brings  low,  and  raises  up.  As 
Job's  troubles  arc  a  warning  to  those  in  prosperity  not 
to  be  secure,  so  his  return  to  his  former  splendour, 
is  a  warning  to  those  in  adversity  not  to  despair. 
You  know  not  what  better  times  you  may  yet  be  re- 
served for,  as  Job  was,  whose  latter  end  God  blessed 
more  than  his  beginnings* 

t  Heb.  v\.  19.  It  Pa.  zxvii.  fo.  ▼  Ps.  xxsii.  a 

«  Job  Tiii.  7.  X  Job  xlti.  IS. 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


821 


III.  I  come  now  briefly  to  show  how  the  balance 
must  be  kept  even  between  hope  and  fear  as  to 
public  coDcems,  both  those  of  the  church  abroad, 
and  of  our  own  nation.  Are  not  the  concerns  of  the 
charch  abroad  our  concerns  ?  They  ought  to  be  so. 
I  hope  we  all  lay  them  near  our  hearts,  as  members 
of  the  great  body,  and  hearty  well-wishers  to  its 
interests,  and  to  the  honour  and  kingdom  of  its  great 
Head.  Are  we  not  in  care  that  the  Christian  religion 
may  get  ground  among  men,  and  not  lose  the  ground 
it  has ;  that  it  may  prevail  and  rule  in  its  power  and 
parity  ;  that  the  bounds  of  the  church  may  be  en- 
larged by  the  accession  both  of  Jews  and  Gentiles 
to  it ;  that  the  breaches  of  It  may  be  healed,  by  the 
pouring  out  of  a  spirit  of  love  and  charity  upon  all 
who  belong  to  it ;  that  the  ordinances  of  Christ,  ad- 
ministered according  to  the  institution  of  (hem,  may 
ever  be  its  glory,  and  upon  that  glory  there  may  ever 
be  a  defence ;  a  cloud  created  by  day,  and  the  shin- 
ing of  a  flaming  fire  by  night,  both  upon  every  dwell- 
ing place  of  Mount  Zion,  and  upon  her  assemblies  P 

The  land  of  our  nativity  ought  in  a  particular 
manner  to  be  dear  to  us,  for  in  the  peace  or  trouble 
of  that,  we  have  peace'  or  trouble.  Is  it  not  our 
concern,  that  our  liberty  and  property  be  secured  ; 
that  the  government  flourish  ;  that  the  public  peace 
and  tranquillity  be  continued;  that  justice  be  duly 
administered  ;  that  the  power  and  influence  of  the 
nation  abroad  be  advanced ;  that  the  trade  be  pro- 
tected and  increased ;  but,  above  all,  that  the  pro- 
testant  religion  be  transmitted  pure  to  those  who  shall 
come  after  us ;  that  the  bulwarks  erected  against 
popery  may  be  strengthened  ;  that  atheism,  infi- 
delity, and  all  iniquity,  may  be  made  to  stop  their 
mouth ;  that  the  form  of  godliness  may  ever  be  the 
beauty  of  the  nation,  and  the  power  of  it  may  ever 
mle  in  men's  hearts  and  lives  ?  Is  it  not  our  concern, 
that  our  eyes  should  still  see  our  teachers,  and  that 
they  should  not  again  be  removed  into  comers,  nor 
our  religions  assemblies  broken  up  and  scattered  ? 
If  it  be,  we  cannot  but  look  forward  with  concern, 
and  while  we  enjoy  peace  and  liberty  at  present,  be 
in  care  about  the  continuance  of  them ;  and  in  our 
prospects  there  cannot  but  be  a  mixture  of  hope  and 
fear,  and  we  must  endeavour  so  to  fear  the  worst,  as 
not  to  grow  secure,  and  so  to  hope  the  best,  as  not  to 
despond,  or  be  dispirited. 

The  truth  is,  we  are  very  apt  at  some  times,  when 
second  clauses  smile  a  little,  to  be  very  sanguine, 
above  what  there  is  reason  for,  and  to  conclude,  that 
we  shall  without  fail  be  in  Canaan  presently ;  at 
other  times,  when  things  go  not  just  to  our  mind,  we 
are  apt  to  be  very  chagrined,  more  than  there  is 
cause,  and  to  conclude  that  we  shall  without  remedy 
be  hurried  back  into  Egypt  again.  This  hour  we 
soar,  and  if  the  wind  turn,  next  hour  we  sink ;  as  if 


J  laa.  iv.  A. 


■  Jer.  xxix.  7. 


when  the  sun  shines  we  should  think  it  would  never 
rain,  and  when  it  rains  we  shouldthinkthe  sun  would 
never  shine  out  again.  And  have  we  not  lived  long 
enough  in  this  world  to  be  ashamed  both  of  those  hopes 
and  those  fears  ?  having  often  seen  ourselves  dis- 
appointed both  in  the  one  and  the  other ;  and  in  the 
issue  things  have  proved  neither  so  well  as  we  hoped, 
nor  so  ill  as  we  feared ;  so  that  we  have  surely  at 
leng^  learned  by  experience,  that  it  is  our  wisdom 
and  interest,  as  well  as  our  duty,  to  keep  the  bal- 
ance even  between  hope  and  fear. 

1.  We  have  always  reason  to  keep  up  a  holy  fear 
as  to  public  affairs,  and  to  be  apprehensive  of  trou- 
ble before  us,  even  when  things  look  most  promising. 
We  have  no  reason,  even  when  we  dwell  peaceably, 
as  the  men  of  Israel  in  Solomon's  time,  to  dwell 
carelessly,  as  the  men  of  Laish.*  It  is  true,  and  we 
have  a  great  deal  of  reason  to  be  thankful  for  it,  that 
we  are  a  happy  people ;  we  have  long  been  blessed 
with  peace  and  plenty  at  home,  and  with  victory  and 
success  abroad ;  we  live  under  a  very  good  govern- 
ment, which  seeks  the  welfare  of  our  people,  speak- 
ing peace  to  all  their  seed;  we  have  long  sitten 
every  one  under  his  own  vine,  and  under  his  own 
fig-tree ;  we  have  long  enjoyed  the  free  exercise  of 
our  religion,  and  great  plenty  of  the  means  of  grace, 
and  there  has  been  none  to  make  us  afraid.  Our 
fleece  has  been  wet  with  the  dews  of  heaven,  when 
that  of  other  nations  has  been  dry :  while  theirs  also 
has  been  wet  with  showers  of  blood,  ours  has  been 
dry. 

Shall  England  then  say,  /  sit  as  a  queen  ^  and  shall 
see  no  sorrow?  By  no  means.  Happy  is  the  man 
that  still  fcareth,  as  David,  whose  flesh  trembled  for 
fear  of  God  ;'*  and  notwithstanding  the  many  mer- 
cies he  had  received  from  him,  was  afraid  of  his 
judgments.    And  we  have  reason  to  be  so  ;  for, 

(1.)  We  are  a  provoking  people.  Atheism  and 
profanencss  abound  among  us,  notwithstanding  the 
testimonies  borne  against  them,  and  the  endeavours 
used  to  suppress  them.  Vice  is  become  fashionable 
and  epidemical ;  all  flesh  have  corrupted  their  way ; 
the  whole  head  sich,  the  whole  heart  faint.  How  is 
God's  name  dishonoured,  his  day  profaned,  his  good 
creatures  abused  to  luxury  and  excess;  and  how 
does  the  unclean  spirit  range  through  the  land! 
Liberty  to  sin  has  been  pleaded  for  as  Christian 
liberty,  and  the  societies  for  reformation  branded  as 
illegal  inquisitionif  and  their  pious  endeavours  op- 
posed, insulted,  and  ridiculed.  And  shall  not  God 
visit  for  these  things  ?  Shall  not  his  soul  be  avenged 
on  such  a  nation  as  this  ?^  How  can  a  people  who 
hate  to  be  reformed,  hope  to  be  saved  ? 

The  great  decay  of  serious  godliness  among  those 
who  run  not  with  others  to  an  excess  of  riot,  is 
likewise  a  very  threatening  symptom.     If  those 


•  Judges  xTiii.  7.  i  Ps.  cxix.  120. 


e  Jer.  ix.  9. 


622 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


g^row  more  insolent  who  are  filling  the  measure  of 
the  nation's  guilt  by  their  wickedness,  and  at  the 
same  time  those  grow  more  cold  and  remiss,  who 
should  empty  it  by  their  prayers  and  tears,  things 
look  very  ill  indeed.  How  wofully  do  the  profes- 
sors of  this  age  degenerate  from  the  zeal  and  strict- 
ness of  their  predecessors !  And  such  is  the  cor- 
ruption of  the  rising  generation  in  many  families, 
that  there  is  reason  to  fear  a  further  degeneracy. 
And, if  thus  we  grow  worse  and  worse,  what  will 
become  of  us  at  last?  If  thus,  as  Ezra  speaks,  the 
holy  seed  mingle  themselves  with,  and  conform  them- 
selves to,  the  people  of  these  abominations,  what 
may  we  expect,  but  that  God  should  be  angry  with 
us  till  he  hath  consumed  us?'  For  our  religion 
sensibly  consumes,  and  a  consumption  may  be  as 
fatal  as  a  stab.  Those  may  be  of  any  religion,  who 
are  of  no  religion. 

(2.)  We  are  a  divided  people,  and  our  divisions 
give  just  cause  to  fear  the  worst ;  for  what  can  be 
expected,  but  that  a  kingdom  divided  against  itself 
should  be  brought  to  desolation  ?  It  is  our  enemies' 
policy  to  divide  us,  and  our  sin  and  folly  to  serve 
their  design  by  our  misunderstandings  one  of  an- 
other, and  disafi*ection  one  to  another,  when  we 
might  countermine  and  defeat  it  by  our  mutual  love 
and  charity.  For  the  divisions  of  our  Reuben,  there 
cannot  but  be  great  thoughts  and  searchings  of  heart 
among  all  who  are  concerned  for  the  public  welfare. 
We  are  in  danger  of  being  burnt  up  by  the  heats 
in  our  own  bosoms,  and  broken  to  pieces  by  the 
blows  we  give  one  another ;  and  who  can  we  think 
will  be  our  deliverers,  if  we  be  thus  oar  own  de- 
stroyers ? 

It  is  not  so  much  the  difference  of  sentiment  that 
is  threatening,  nor  the  difference  of  practice  accord- 
ing to  that  sentiment ;  I  never  expect  to  see  all  wise 
men  of  a  mind,  and  good  men  will  not  act  against 
their  judgment;  but  that  which  does  us  the  mischief, 
is  the  mismanagement  of  our  differences,  our  un- 
charitable censures  one  of  another,  and  reflections 
one  upon  another,  our  heats  and  animosities,  and 
party-making,  to  the  destruction,  not  only  of  Chris- 
tian charity,  but  of  common  friendship  and  good 
neighbourhood.  The  breach  seems  wide  as  the  sea, 
which  cannot  be  healed ;  and  what  will  be  in  the  end 
hereof?  If  we  thus  bite  and  devour  one  another, 
what  can  be  expected,  but  that  we  should  be  con- 
sumed one  of  another  ?*  While  our  enemies  triumph 
in  our  divisions,  it  becomes  us  to  tremble  because  of 
them. 

(3.)  God  has  told  us,  that  in  the  world  we  shall 
have  tribulation;  all  the  disciples  of  Christ  must 
count  upon  it,  and  not  flatter  themselves  with  hopes 
of  an  uninterrupted  tranquillity  any  where  on  this 
side  heaven.    The  church  is  here  militant,  its  state 


i  Ezra  ix.  2, 14. 

ff  AcU  vii.  38. 


e  Gal.  V.  15.  f  Judges  iii.  30. 

h  Exod.  XV.  37. 


in  this  world  is  a  warfare :  if  it  retire  sometimes  into 
quarters  of  refreshment,  yet  it  must  expect  to  be 
drawn  out  into  the  field  again  next  campaign :  if  it 
have  its  intervals  of  peace,  those  are  intended  as 
breatliing  times,  that  it  may  recruit  and  gather 
strength  for  an  encounter  with  another  trouble. 
Once  we  read  that  the  land  of  Israel  had  rest  four- 
score years ;'  but  we  never  read  afterwards  that  it 
had  so  long  a  respite.  We  are  in  a  wilderness,  and 
we  must  expect  to  fare  no  better  than  the  church 
in  the  wilderness  did,'  which  though  sometimes  it 
pitched  where  there  were  twelve  wells  of  water,*'  yet 
presently  was  where  there  was  no  water*  to  drink ; 
and  when  it  removed  from  the  wilderness  of  Sin, 
the  cloud  that  was  their  guide  led  them  to  the  wil- 
derness of  Paran  ;^  but  still  they  were  in  a  desert 
land,  where  God,  though  he  led  them  about,  yet 
instructed  them.  Let  the  people  of  God  never  expect, 
till  they  come  to  heaven,  to  be  out  of  the  reach  of 
evil,  and  therefore  never  expect  to  be  perfectly  quiet 
from  the  fear  of  it. 

Far  be  it  from  me  to  suggest  any  thing  that  may 
create  disquieting  jealousies ;  all  that  I  aim  at  in 
mentioning  these  grounds  of  fear,  is,  that  hereby 
we  may  all  be  awakened  to  our  duty. 

[1.]  Let  us,  in  consideration  hereof,  stir  up  our- 
selves to  pray,  and  to  wrestle  with  God  in  prayer, 
for  the  turning  away  of  the  judgments,  which  our 
own  sins,  and  the  malice  of  those  who  are  the  ene- 
mies  of  our  public  peace,  threaten  us  with.  Jacob 
feared  Esau  his  brother,  and  then  prayed,  Deiiver 
me,  /  pray  thee,  from  him.'  Jehoshaphat  feared, 
and  then  set  himself  to  seek  the  Lord,  and  proclaim 
a  fast™  Whatever  are  the  grounds  of  our  fear,  we 
know  God  can  remove  them ;  he  can  turn  away  un- 
godliness from  Jacob,"  and  then  he  comes  as  a 
Redeemer  to  Zion. 

Let  not  our  prayers  for  the  church  of  God,  and 
for  our  own  nation,  degenerate  into  a  formality ; 
nor  let  us  grow  customary  in  them,  as  if  it  were  only 
for  fashion'  sake,  that  we  prayed  for  the  queen  and 
the  government,  the  preservation  of  the  protestant 
succession,  and  the  prosperity  of  the  nation  and  its 
allies,  and  (as  some  vainly  drink  healths  to  these) 
only  for  a  compliment.  I  fear  lest  some  who  join 
with  us  in  prayer,  however  in  other  parts  of  the  ser- 
vice they  think  themselves  somewhat  concerned, 
when  we  come  to  that,  grow  remiss  and  indifferent, 
as  if  that  were  nothing  to  them ;  whereas  our  Lord 
Jesus  has  taught  us,  before  we  pray  for  our  daily 
bread  and  the  pardon  of  our  sins,  to  pray  for  the 
prosperity  of  his  church,  that  his  name  may  be 
sanctified,  his  kingdom  may  come,  and  his  will  be 
done.  Let  us  therefore  not  only  join  heartily  with 
our  ministers  in  prayer  for  the  church  of  God,  and 
for  the  nation,  but  let  each  of  us  in  our  families  and 


i  Exod.  XTll.  3. 

w  s  Chron. 


k  Numb.  X.  IS. 
3. 


I  Qen.  xxxii 
■  Rom.  xl.  S6. 


II. 


HOPE  AND  FEAlR  BALANCED. 


823 


closets  be  intercessors  with  God  for  pablic  mercies ; 
let  as  j$tand  in  the  gap  to  tarn  away  bis  wratb,  and 
give  bim  no  rest  till  he  establish,  till  he  maice  Jeru- 
salem a  praise  in  the  earth .» 

[2.]  Let  us,  in  consideration  hereof,  do  what  we 
can  to  prevent  the  judgments  that  threaten  ns,  by  a 
personal  reformation  of  heart  and  life,  and  by  con- 
tributing what  we  can  in  our  places  to  the  reforma- 
tion of  others.  When  God  speaks  concerning  a 
aation,  to  pluck  up,  and  to  pull  down,  and  to  de- 
stroy ,p  its  taming  from  sin  is  the  only  way  to  save  it 
from  ruin,  and  that  is  a  sore  way.  It  is  the  island 
of  the  innocent  that  is  delivered  by  the  purenesi  of 
their  hands J^  Let  this  charity  to  the  public  begin  at 
home.  Let  every  Israelite,  as  once  every  Ninevite, 
turn  from  his  evil  way ;  and  then  who  can  tell  but 
God  will  yet  return  and  repent/  and  leave  a  blessing 
behind  him  ?  But  let  not  this  charity  end  there ;  let 
us  appear  on  the  Lord's  side ;  let  us  act  in  defence 
of  injured  virtue  and  despised  g^odlincss,  and  do  our 
utmost  in  bamility  and  sincerity  to  put  vice  and 
profaneness  ont  of  countenance.  And  if  we  thus 
return  to  God  in  a  way  of  duty,  no  doubt  he  will 
return  to  us  in  a  way  of  mercy,  and  be  better  to  us 
than  our  fears. 

[3.]  Being  warned  of  a  deluge  coming,  let  us  pro- 
Tide  accordingly :  let  not  the  warning  make  us 
despond  and  despair.  Noah  did  not ;  he  knew  the 
deluge  should  not  be  a  final  destruction  of  mankind, 
bat  that  there  would  be  another  world  after  that 
which  was  to  be  drowned  ;  he  knew  also  that  it 
should  go  well  with  him,  and  his  family.  With  this 
hope  he  encouraged  himself ;  but  being  warned  of 
God  concerning  it,  he  was  moved  with  fear,  and 
made  provision  for  it;  he  walked  with  God,  and 
thcj  who  do  so  are  sure  to  be  hid  in  the  day  of  the 
Lord's  anger,*  to  be  hid  either  in  heaven  or  under 
heaven.  He  prepared  an  ark,  and  then  was  himself 
saved  in  it.  Christ  is  our  ark,  God  has  prepared  in 
him  a  refuge  for  all  those  who  flee  to  him,  and  take 
shelter  in  him  when  a  deluge  comes.  Preserve  the 
evidences  of  yoar  interest  in  Christ  clear  and  un- 
clouded, and  your  hopes  of  eternal  life  firm  and 
unshaken  ;  lay  up  a  treasure  of  comforts  and  expe- 
riences ;  make  the  name  of  the  Lord  your  strong 
tower ;  his  attributes,  his  promises,  your  sanctuary, 
into  which  you  may  run  and  be  safe,  in  which  you 
may  rest  and  be  easy,  and,  then,  welcome  the  will  of 
God,  nothing  can  come  amiss. 

2.  Whatever  cause  we  may  see  to  fear,  yet  still 
we  most  keep  up  a  good  hope,  as  to  public  affairs. 
We  bear  of  the  threatening  powers  and  policies  of 
onr  enemies,  the  heads  and  horns  of  the  dragon,* 
that  makes  war  with  the  Lamb.  We  see  the  church 
in  many  places  afflicted,  tossed  with  tempests,  and 
not  comforted  ;  her  adversaries  many  and  mighty, 

•  lat  Ixii.  e,  7.    F  Jcr  xTili.  7, 8.    q  Job  xxii.  30.    r  Jonah  iii.  10. 
•  Zeph.  ii.  3.  t  Rer.  xll.  3.  «  Zecb.  xlv.  7. 


her  helpers  few  and  feeble  ;  yet  let  not  our  faith  and 
hope  fail ;  it  is  day,  though  it  be  cloudy  and  dark, 
and  at  evening  time  it  shall  be  light."  Let  Israel 
hope  in  God,  and  wait  for  him,  as  those  who  wait 
for  the  morning ;  and  when  the  night  is  long  and 
gloomy,  do  as  Paul's  mariners  did,  cast  anchor,  and 
wish  for  the  day.*  Let  us  learn  to  make  the  best  of 
that  which  is,  and  hope  the  best  concerning  that 
which  shall  be. 

Let  our  hopes  always  be  such  a  check  upon  our 
fears,  that  they  may  not  prevail  to  disturb  our  com- 
munion with  God,  to  stop  the  mouth  of  prayer,  and 
weaken  the  hands  of  honest  endeavour.  Hearken 
not  to  the  foolish  surmises  of  danger,  nor  be  put  into 
a  fright  by  evil  tidings :  Say  notf  A  confederacy,  to 
whom  this  people  shall  May  9  A  confederacy;  neither  fear 
ye  their  fear^  nor  be  afraid,  but  mahe  God  your  fear 
and  your  dread.'  The  more  we  are  governed  by  the 
fear  of  God,  the  less  we  shall  be  disturbed  by  the 
fear  of  man.  Nehemiah  encouraged  the  builders  of 
the  wall  with  this,  when  they  were  surrounded  with 
enemies,  who  designed  to  come  in  the  midst  among 
them,  and  slay  them,  and  cause  the  work  to  cease. 
Be  not  afraid  of  them,  remember  the  Lord  which  is 
yreat  and  terrible f""  greater  and  more  terrible  to  them 
than  they  can  be  to  us,  and  who  will  show  himself 
above  them  in  that  thing  wherein  they  deal  proudly. 
When  you  fear  continually  every  day,  as  if  the 
oppressor  in  his  fury  '  were  ready  to  destroy,  you 
forget  the  Lord  your  Maker,  and  his  dominion  over 
all,  and  the  dependence  of  every  creature  upon  him ; 
which,  if  you  had  a  due  regard  to,  you  would  look 
with  contempt  upon  Sennacherib  himself,  and  would 
say,  Where  is  the  fury  of  the  oppressor  ? 

Let  me  prevail  with  you  at  this  day  to  encourage 
yourselves  in  the  Lord  your  God  as  to  public  affairs. 
While  we  fear  our  own  sins,  let  us  hope  in  God's 
mercy  ;  for  though  our  iniquities  prevail  against  us, 
and  threaten  to  stop  the  current  of  God's  favours, 
yet  as  for  our  transgressions  he  shall  purge  them 
away,*  and  that  great  obstacle  being  removed,  his 
favours  shall  have  a  free  course  again.  Though  the 
designs  of  our  enemies  be  laid  ever  so  deep,  and 
their  hopes  ever  so  high,  yet  God  can  make  even 
their  wrath  to  praise  him,  and  restrain  the  remainder 
of  it  ;•  and  therefore  take  heed  and  be  quiet,  fear 
not,  neither  be  faint-hearted,^  but  hope  that  things 
will  end  well  at  last. 

There  are  three  things  which  may  encourage  our 
hope,  and  keep  the  balance  even  against  all  our 
fears,  as  to  the  concerns  both  of  the  protestant 
churches  abroad,  and  our  own  nation. 

(1.)  The  word  which  God  has  spoken  to  us ;  which 
(whatever  other  props  our  hopes  may  be  supported 
with)  is  the  great  foundation  on  which  they  must  be 
built,  and  then  they  are  fixed.    If  our  hopes  be 

T  Acts  xxvU.  80.       w  Isa.  viil.  11.  IS.       *  Neb.  iv.  II.  14. 
r  Isa.  li.  13.       <  Ps.  Ixv.  3.       •  Pb.  Ixxvi.  10.      b  Im.  vii.  4. 


824 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


groanded  on  the  promise,  and  our  expectations 
guided  by  it,  they  are  as  the  house  built  on  the  rock ; 
and  the  heart  that  is  supported  by  them  is  established 
and  cannot  be  moved .«  Sifractut  illabatur  arbis, 
impavidum  ferient  ruince — Though  the  earth  be  re- 
moved,  yet  will  we  notfearA  But  if  our  hopes  be 
founded  on  the  ability  and  agency  of  creatures,  they 
rise  or  fall  as  second  causes  smile  or  frown ;  as  the 
ship  upon  the  water,  which  is  higher  or  lower,  as  the 
tide  ebbs  or  flows.  The  stocks  are  as  the  news  is, 
and  then  every  turn  of  the  wheel  otherwise  than  we 
would  have  it,  shakes  our  hopes,  and  robs  us  of  the 
comfort  of  them.  Be  persuaded  therefore  to  hope 
for  what  God  had  promised,  according  to  the  true 
intent  and  full  extent  of  the  promise,  and  because 
he  has  promised  it,  and  that  hope  shall  be  an  anchor 
of  the  soul  sure  and  stedfast. 

Is  not  this  the  word  which  God  has  spoken,  and 
on  which  he  hath  caused  us  to  hope?  That  the 
kingdoms  of  the  world  shall  become  his  kingdoms: 
That  Christ  shall  have  the  heathen  given  him  for  his 
inheritance,  and  the  ends  of  the  earth  shall  see  his  sal- 
vation. Has  he  not  said  that  the  man  of  sin  shall  be 
consumed,  the  mystery  of  iniquity  unravelled,  and 
that  the  New-Testament  Babylon  shall  sink  like  a 
millstone  into  the  mighty  waters  ?  Has  he  not  said, 
that  the  day  will  come  when  swords  shall  be  beaten 
into  ploughshares,  and  spears  intopruning-hooks,  when 
the  wolf  and  the  lamb  shall  lie  down  together,  and 
there  shall  be  none  to  hurt  or  destroy  in  all  the  holy 
mountain  ?  Has  he  not  said,  that  for  the  oppression 
of  the  poor,  and  the  sighing  of  the  needy,  he  will  arise, 
and  set  them  in  safety  from  those  that  puff  at  them? 
That  the  rod  of  the  wicked  shall  not  always  rest  on  the 
lot  of  the  righteous,  but  the  year  of  the  redeemed  will 
come,  and  the  year  of  recompencesfor  the  controversy 
of  Zion  ?  Has  he  not  said,  that  a  seed  shall  serve 
Christ,  which  shall  be  accounted  to  him  for  a  genera- 
tion :  that /A«  name  of  Christ  shall  endure  for  ever; 
and  that  the  church  is  built  upon  a  rock,  and  tke  gates 
of  hell  shall  never  prevail  against  it  ? 

This,  and  a  g^eat  deal  more  to  this  purpose,  he 
has  said  ;  and  he  is  not  a  man  that  he  should  lie,  nor 
the  son  of  man  that  he  should  repent  Has  he  made 
the  promise,  and  shall  he  not  make  it  good?  In  this 
therefore  let  us  trust,  in  this  let  us  triumph, — God 
has  spoken  in  his  holiness ;  he  has  given  me  his 
word  for  it,  and  then  I  will  rejoice ;  I  will  divide 
Sechem,  Gilead  is  mine,  Manasseh  mine :«  it  is  all 
my  own  as  far  as  the  promise  goes,  which  we  must 
not  so  much  as  stagger  at. 

(2.)  The  work  which  God  has  begun  among  us. 
We  have  reason  to  hope  in  God's  mercy ;  for  the 
interest  that  lies  so  much  upon  our  hearts,  even  the 
interest  of  religion  among  us,  is  the  interest  of  God's 
own  kingdom,  which  he  has  set  up  among  us,  and 


c  Ps.  cxii.  7,  8. 
f  P8.  cii.  35. 


d  Ps.  xlvi.  S. 


e  Pb.  Ix.  6,  7. 
V  Ezra  x.  2. 


will  therefore  keep  up :  it  is  the  work  of  his  own 
hands,^  which  he  will  never  forsake. 

Things  are  not  so  bad,  but,  blessed  be  God,  there 
are  some  hopeful,  favourable  symptoms  in  our  case ; 
and  none  more  so,  than  the  national  testimonies  that 
are  borne  against  atheism  and  infidelity,  and  the 
threatening  growth  of  deism,  Socinianism,  and  scep- 
ticism among  us ;  the  complaints  that  are  justly  made 
of  the  profanation  of  the  Lord's  day,  and  the  con- 
tempt cast  upon  the  Scripture  and  divine  institu- 
tions ;  of  the  wretched  corruption  of  manners,  and 
the  influence  which  the  profaneness  of  the  stage  has 
upon  it  When  these  things  are  represented  as  the 
real  grievances  of  the  nation,  and  lamented  accord- 
ingly, surely  now  there  is  hope  in  Israel,  concerning 
this  thing,8  and  we  may  rejoice  in  that  hope. 

I  trust  God  has  among  us  a  remnant  of  praying 
people,  a  remnant  that  hold  fast  their  integrity ;  and 
with  an  eye  to  them  God  will  continue  to  save  us, 
and  will  perfect  what  he  has  wrought.  We  may 
safely  argue,  as  Haman's  wife  does,  for  the  perfecting 
of  the  ruin  of  our  enemies ;  If  Mordecai  be  of  the 
seed  of  the  Jews,  if  the  cause  be  God's,  as  certainly 
it  is,  before  whom,  before  which,  thou  hast  begun  to 
fall,  thou  shalt  not,  thou  canst  not,  prevail,  though 
thou  struggle  ever  so  hard,  but  shalt  surely,  shalt 
irrecoverably,  fall  before  him^*  and  it  And  we  may 
also  argue,  as  Manoah's  wife  does,  for  the  preventing 
of  our  own  ruin  ;  //*  the  Lord  had  been  pleased  to  kill 
us,  ke  would  not  as  at  tkis  time  have  showed  us  such 
things  as  these.*  As  for  God,  his  work  is  perfect ;  if 
he  bring  to  the  birth,  he  will  cause  to  bring  forth.^ 

(3.)  The  wonders  which  he  has  wrought  for  us. 
When  we  are  encouraging  ourselves  with  hopes  that 
God  will  ordain  peace  for  us,  because  be  has  wrought 
our  work  in  us  ;i  yet  this  is  discouraging,  that  there 
are  such  difficulties  in  the  way,  which  we  think  can 
never  be  got  over.  But  let  us  then  consider  the 
former  times,  remember  the  works  of  the  Lord,  and 
his  wonders  of  old  ;"*  not  only  those  which  our  fathers 
have  told  us  of,  but  which  we  have  seen  in  our  own 
days,  whereby  God's  work  has  been  begun,  carried 
on  in  a  surprising  way,  and  by  events  which  we 
looked  not  for. 

When  God  had  begun  to  deliver  Israel  out  of 
Egypt,  and  conduct  them  to  Canaan  by  miracles,  he 
expected  that  in  their  straits  they  should  depend 
upon  him  still  to  work  miracles  for  their  relief,  and 
was  displeased  at  their  unbelief  if  they  did  not.  God 
has  begun  to  save  us,  though  not  by  miracles,  yet  by 
marvels ;  and  thereby  has  encouraged  us  to  depend 
upon  him  that  he  will  still  do  wonders  for  us,  rather 
than  the  work  he  has  done  should  be  undone  again. 
If  a  mean  and  worthless  people  may  be  saved  by  a 
divine  prerogative,  why  may  not  a  weak  and  help- 
less people  be  saved  by  a  divine  omnipotence  ? 

b  Esth.  vi.  13.  1  Judges  xiU.  33.  k  Lsa.  lx?i.  sT" 

1  lsa.  xxTi.  12.  n  Ps.  Izzvii.  11. 


HOPE  AND  FEAR  BALANCED. 


825 


Be  of  good  coarage  therefore,  and  hope  in  God, 
that  we  shall  yet  praise  him ;  stay  yourselves  npon 
him,  strengthen  yonrseWes  in  him,  look  upwards 
with  cheerfalness,  and  then  look  forward  with  satis- 
faction. Let  yoor  hopes  qaicken  yoar  prayers,  let 
them  keep  yoa  in  the  way  of  daty,  and  enlarge  yoar 
hearts  to  run  in  that  way ;  let  them  quicken  your 
endeavoars  in  yoor  places,  to  senre  the  interests  of 
God's  kingdom  among  us  to  the  utmost  of  your  power ; 
and  then  let  them  silence  your  fears,  and  make  you 


always  easy  to  yourselves  and  those  about  you. 
Comfort  yourselves  and  one  another  with  this,  that 
the  same  almighty  hand  that  has  laid  the  foundations 
of  his  church  among  us,  will  build  upon  those 
foundations,  will  in  his  own  way  and  time,  in  his  own 
method,  and  according  to  the  plan  of  bin  own  eternal 
counsels,  carry  on  the  building,  till  at  length  the  top- 
stone  be  brought  forth  with  shouting,  and  we  shall 
cry,  Grace f  grace  to  it,^ 


n  Zech.  iv.  7. 


A  SERMON 


CONCERNING 


THE  CATECHISING  OF  YOUTH 


PREACHED  TO  MR.  HARRIS'S  CATECHUMENS,  APRIL  7,  1713. 


2  Timothy  i.  13. 

Holdfast  the  form  of  sound  wordt  which  thou  hast  heard 
of  me,  in  faith  and  love  which  is  in  Christ  Jesus, 

Blessed  Paul  in  this,  as  in  the  former  epistle,  giv- 
ing wholesome  advice  and  instruction  to  Timothy ; 
for  the  enforcing  of  it,  among  other  things,  pats  him 
in  mind  of  his  education,  and  the  advantages  of  it ; 
the  good  principles  which  by  it  had  been  instilled 
into  him,  and  the  good  practices  he  had  been  trained 
up  in :  and  upon  trial,  now  he  came  to  years  of 
understanding,  he  could  not  but  see  that  they  were 
good.  Let  him  therefore  adhere  to  them,  and  abide 
by  them,  and  now  build  upon  the  foundation  then 
laid. 

He  particularly  mentions  the  two  great  advantages 
which  be  was  blessed  with,  in  his  childhood  and 
youth  ;  that  he  was  bred  up,  both  under  the  tuition 
of  godly  parents,  and  under  the  direction  and  in- 
struction of  an  able  faithful  ministry :  and  both  these 
are  requisite  to  complete  the  blessings  of  a  religious 
education. 

I.  He  had  been  well  taught  by  his  godly  parents, 
his  grandmother  Lois,  and  his  mother  Eunice,*  whose 
unfeigned  faith  the  apostle  would  have  him  fre- 
quently to  think  of,  and  thereby  be  minded  to  stir 
up  the  gift  of  God  that  was  in  him.**  His  father  was 
a  Greek,  one  who  had  little  religion  in  him,  but  left 
it  to  his  mother  to  bring  him  up  as  she  thought  fit ; 
and  she  and  his  grandmother  were  not  wanting  to 
season  the  vessel  betimes  with  a  good  savour ;  so 
that  from  a  child  he  knew  the  Holy  Scriptures,  and 
was  made  wise  to  salvation  by  them.'  It  is  a  great 
opportunity,  which  mothers  have,  and  which  pru- 
dent, pious  mothers  will  improve,  to  fill  the  minds 
of  their  children,  when  they  are  young,  with  good 


•  2  Tim  V.  6. 


b  Acts  xvi.  I. 


knowledge,  and  to  form  them  to  a  good  disposition. 
If  the  tree  must  be  bent,  it  must  be  done  when  it  is 
young  and  tender,  and  with  a  very  gentle,  easy  hand, 
for  the  spirit  is  not  to  be  broken  but  bowed. 

2.  He  had  been  well  taught  by  St  Paul  too.  His 
mother  and  grandmother  had  taught  him  the  Scrip- 
tures, and  made  him  ready  in  them,  as  a  child  of 
God ;  then  Paul  expounded  the  Scriptures  more 
fully  to  him,  and  by  the  grace  of  God  made  him 
mighty  in  them,  so  that  he  became  a  man  of  God, 
thoroughly  furnished  to  all  good  works.  The  text 
speaks  of  the  form  of  sound  words,  which  he  had 
heard  of  Paul,  either  in  private  lectures  read  to  bim 
as  his  pupil,  or  in  his  public  teaching  and  catechis- 
ing, on  which  Timothy  was  constantly  and  dili- 
gently attending. 

Now  those  two  methods  of  instruction,  both  by  pa- 
rents in  their  families,  and  by  ministers  in  more 
public  assemblies,  are  necessary,  and  do  mutually 
assist  each  other,  and  neither  will  excuse  the  want 
of  the  other.  Let  not  parents  think  to  leave  it  wholly 
to  ministers ;  as  if  because  their  children  are  well 
taught  in  public,  they  need  not  take  any  pains  with 
them  at  home ;  no,  there  the  foundation  must  be  laid, 
and  there  the  improvement  by  public  catechising 
must  be  examined,  and  there  a  more  particular  ap- 
plication must  be  made  according  to  the  children's 
capacities  and  dispositions,  than  it  is  possible  for 
ministers  to  make  in  public.  The  people  of  Israel 
had  the  Levites  dispersed  among  them,  whose  office 
it  was  to  teach  them  the  good  knowledge  of  the  Lord ; 
and  yet  it  is  required  of  parents  that  they  not  only 
receive  God's  words  into  their  own  hearts,  but  that 
they  teach  them  diligently  to  their  children,  and  talk 
of  them  in  their  families,  and  tell  those  under  their 
charge  the  meaning  of  the  testimonies  and  judg- 
ments which  he  had  commanded  thera.*^  If  father,  or 


»>  3  Tim.  iii.  1&. 


a  Deut  vL  6. 7.  90. 


A  SERMON,  &c. 


827 


mother,  or  both,  do  not  teach  their  children  first,  and 
teach  them  last  too,  they  will  not  be  fit  for,  nor 
mnch  the  better  by,  public  catechising. 

And  on  the  other  hand,  let  not  ministers  think  to 
leave  it  wholly  to  parents,  as  if  because  the  children 
were  well  taught  at  home,  they  needed  not  to  con- 
tribute any  help  of  theirs  to  their  instruction.  The 
great  Shepherd  of  the  sheep  has  charged  them  to 
feed  his  lambs*  with  food  proper  for  them.  Besides 
the  natural  authority  and  affection  of  parents,  it  is 
fit  that  the  spiritual  authority  and  affection  of  minis- 
ters likewise,  should  be  improved  for  the  advantage 
of  the  rising  generation.  And  it  may  be  presumed, 
that  according  to  the  gift  given  to  them,  they  have 
pieater  abilities  for  instruction  than  the  parents  have. 
In  teaching  your  children  other  arts  and  sciences, 
though  you  may  have  some  insight  into  them  your- 
seWes,  yet  you  make  use  of  those  who  particularly 
profess  those  arts  and  sciences,  and  make  it  their 
business  to  teach  them ;  and  will  you  not  do  so  in 
that  which  is  the  one  thing  needful  for  them  to  learn 
well.  You  are  to  feed  your  kids,  but  you  must  do  it 
beside  the  shepherds'  tents,'  under  the  conduct  of  a 
gospel  ministry. 

Now  Timothy  having  had  this  doubll  advantage, 
Paul  urges  him  still  to  proceed  in  that  good  way 
wherein  he  had  so  well  set  out ;  to  hold  fast  that 
fonn  of  sound  words,  which  he  had  received. 

(1.)  This  implies  that  he  had  a  form  of  sound 
words  delivered  to  him  by  Paul ;  a  brief  summary 
of  the  Christian  doctrine,  and  of  all  those  things 
which  are  most  surely  believed  >  among  Christians, 
aj  St  Luke  expresses  it ;  vxarvirutmv — a  delineation, 
a  scheme,  or  rough  draught  of  the  gospel  institutes. 
It  is  a  metaphor  taken  from  painters  ;  in  drawing  a 
face,  they  first  draw  the  shape  and  lines  of  it,  and 
then  fill  it  up  with  proper  colours.  Such  a  model 
or  plan  of  the  truths  and  law  of  Christ  Timothy 
had,  as  he  might  afterwards,  in  his  meditation  and 
preaching,  enlarge  upon.  Whether  this  form  of 
sound  words  was  a  creed,  or  confession  of  faith,  I 
cannot  say  ;  I  rather  think  it  was  in  the  way  of  a 
catechism,  because  that  method  of  instruction  was 
Qsed  in  the  early  ages  of  the  church  :  for  we  find  it 
alluded  to  in  St.  Peter's  tirtpttTfifta — the  answer  of  a 
good  conscience^  or  rather  the  interrogation  ;  so  that 
I  thiok  if  we  apply  it,  especially  to  our  catechisms, 
to  the  forms  of  sound  words  so  formed,  we  shall  offer 
DO  violence  at  all  in  the  text 

(2.)  Here  is  a  charge  to  him  to  hold  it  fast,  txi — 
Hne  it.  Have  it  by  thee,  have  it  with  thee,  have  it 
in  thee,  have  it  always  ready  for  use ;  do  not  part 
with  it,  nor  in  any  instance  depart  from  it.  Have  it, 
^at  is,  make  it  to  appear  that  thou  hast  it ;  as  to 
have  grace  is  to  have  it  in  action  and  exercise,  and 
to  him  who  so  has,  has  and  uses  what  he  has,  shall 


•  John  xxt  15. 
h  I  Pet  iii  21. 


f  Cant  i.  a 
tPB.zii  3. 


f  Luk«i.  I. 
k  Matt.  ▼.  18. 


be  given.    Or,  as  we  read  it,  Hold  it  fast ;  it  was 
delivered  to  us,  to  have  and  to  hold ;  and  we  have  it 
in  vain,  if  we  do  not  hold  it 
Accordingly  we  may  hence  learn  two  doctrines. 

I.  That  good  catechisms,  containing  the  grounds 
and  principles  of  the  Christian  religion,  are 
useful  forms  of  sound  words ;  and  it  is  a  great 
mercy  to  have  heard  and  learned  those  forms. 

II.  Those  who  have  heard-  and  learned  the  good 
forms  of  sound  words,  must  hold  them  fast  in 
faith  and  love. 

I.  It  is  a  very  great  advantage  to  young  people,  to 
hear  and  learn  the  Christian  forms  of  sound  words 
in  the  days  of  their  youth  ;  to  have  been  well  taught 
some  good  catechism,  or  confession  of  faith.  Ob- 
serve here, 

1.  The  words  of  the  gospel  are  vyiaivovrmv^^iound 
words,  or  as  some  render  it,  healthful,  wholesome^ 
healing  words.  Put  both  together,  and  it  inti- 
mates, 

(1.)  That  there  is  valve  and  validity  in  the  words 
of  the  gospel ;  as  there  is  in  that  which  is  sound  and 
firm,  and  in  good  condition.  They  are  what  they 
seem,  and  there  is  no  cheat  in  them.  Try  them ; 
and  you  will  find  you  may  trust  them,  as  yon  may 
that  which  is  sound,  and  will  never  be  made  ashamed 
of  your  confidence  in  them.  Men  speak  with  flatter- 
ing lips  and  with  a  double  heart ;  but  the  words  of 
the  Lord  are  pure  words,*  and  have  no  mixture  of 
falsehood  in  them.  The  law  was  written  in  stone, 
to  intimate  its  stability  and  perpetuity;  and  the 
gospel  is  no  less  firm  ;  every  iota  and  tittle  of  both 
shall  survive  heaven  and  earth.^ 

Assure  yourselves,  brethren,  the  words  of  the  gos- 
pel which  we  preach  to  you,  and  which  you  are 
trained  up  in  the  knowledge  of,  are  unchangeable 
and  inviolable.  Holy  Job's  creed  concerning  his 
Redeemer,  was  g^ven  with  an  iron  pen  and  lead  in 
the  rock  for  ever ;'  much  more  is  ours  so ;  it  is  what 
you  may  venture  your  souls  and  your  everlasting 
welfare  upon.  That  is  a  sound  word.  That  Jesus 
Christ  came  into  the  world  to  save  sinners  ;  even  the 
chief, '^  And  that  is  a  sound  word.  That  God  has 
given  to  %u  eternal  life^  and  this  life  is  in  his  Son,^ 
It  is  sound  speech  that  cannot  be  condemned  ;  for 
it  has  been  more  than  a  thousand  times  tried,  and  it 
stands  firm  as  the  everlasting  mountains.  These  are 
the  true  sayings  of  God  i^  and  if  we  compare  the  tra- 
ditions of  the  elders,  or  the  speculations  of  the  phi- 
losophers, with  them,  we  shall  say,  with  the  prophet. 
What  is  the  chaff  to  the  wheat  ?^ 

(2.)  That  there  is  virtue  to  be  drawn  from  them 
for  healing  and  health  to  us.  They  are  not  only  clear 
from  every  thing  that  is  hurtful  and  unwholesome, 
but  there  is  that,  in  them,  which  is  medicinal  and 
restorative,  not  only  of  health  and  strength,  but  of 


iJobzix94,aaL 
e  Rev.  xix.  9. 


m  1  Tim.  i.  16.         nlPetf.  11. 
p  Jer.  xxiil.  S8. 


828 


A  SERMON  CONCERNING  THE 


]ife  itself.  These  waters  of  the  sanctuary,*^  these 
leaves  of  the  tree  of  life,  are  healing  to  the  nations.' 
These  words,  if  daly  applied  and  mixed  with  faith, 
restore  the  sonl,  and  put  it  in  frame,  heal  its  mala- 
dies, and  reduce  to  a  just  temper  its  distempered 
and  disordered  powers.  It  was  said  of  old  concern- 
ing those  who  werp  sick,  that  God  sent  his  word  and 
healed  them.*  And  when  Christ  was  here  upon 
earth,  it  was  hy  the  power  of  his  word  that  he  healed 
all  who  had  need  of  healing,  and  in  a  sense  of  their 
need  applied  themselves  to  him  for  it  And  this  was 
a  figure  of  the  efficacy  of  the  word  of  the  gospel  for 
the  healing  of  diseased  souls,  a  divine  power  going 
along  with  it ;  and  in  it  the  Sun  of  Righteousness 
arises  in  the  soul,  as  it  did  in  the  world,  with  heal- 
ing under  his  wings.' 

Let  this  therefore  recommend  to  you  the  words  we 
teach  you,  that  they  are  not  only  of  inestimable  value 
in  themselves,  but  will  be  of  unspeakable  advantage 
to  you.  They  are  healing  words  indeed  ;  for  they 
are  regenerating  and  recreating  words,  whereby  yon 
may  be  saved."  Mix  faith  with  them,  and  you  will 
experience  the  power  of  them,  setting  you  to  rights, 
and  giving  you  a  new  life  and  vigour.  They  are 
therefore  not  only  faithful  sayings,  but  well  worthy 
of  all  acceptation,  of  your  acceptation.  Accept  them 
therefore,  and  receive  the  benefit  of  them,  that  you 
receive  not  God*s  grace  in  vain :  and  if  they  b^  in 
vain,  and  you  be  not  healed  by  them,  the  fault  is  in 
yourselves. 

2.  It  is  good  to  have  forms  of  these  sound  words 
drawn  up  for  the  use  of  those  who  are  to  learn  the 
first  principles  of  the  oracles  of  God ; "  not  to  be  im- 
posed as  of  equal  authority  with  the  Scriptures,  but 
to  be  proposed  in  order  to  the  further  study  of  the 
Scriptures. 

Bear  us  witness,  we  set  up  no  other  rule  of  faith 
and  practice,  no  other  oracle,  no  other  touchstone 
or  test  of  orthodoxy,  but  the  Holy  Scriptures  of  the 
Old  and  New  Testament :  these  only  are  the  foun- 
tains whence  we  fetch  our  knowledge ;  these  only 
the  foundations  on  which  we  build  our  faith  and 
hope ;  these  the  dernier  resort  of  all  our  inquiries 
and  appeals  in  the  things  of  God,  for  they  only  are 
given  by  divine  inspiration.  This  is  the  principle 
we  abide  by.  To  the  law  and  to  the  teitimony  ;*  that 
is  the  reffula  regulan* — the  paramount  rule,  and  far 
be  it  from  as  that  we  should  set  up  any  form  of 
words  in  competition  with  it,  much  less  in  contra- 
diction to  it ;  or  admit  any  rival  with  it  in  the  con- 
duct and  guardianship  of  our  souls,  as  some  do  the 
traditions  of  the  church,  and  others,  I  know  not 
what  light  within.  Every  other  help  we  have  for  our 
souls  we  make  use  of  as  regula  regulata — a  rule  con- 
trolled, in  subordination  and  subserviency  to  the 
Scripture ;  and  among  the  rest  our  catechisms  and 
confessions  of  faith. 

q  Euk.  xlvii.  8,  9.     r  Rev.  xsil.  3.   •  Pi.  cvii.  SO.    t  Mai.  iv.  a. 


Give  me  leave  to  illustrate  tliis  by  an  appeal  to 
the  gentlemen  of  the  long  robe.  They  know  very 
well  that  the  common  law  of  England  lies  in  the 
Year  Book,  and  hooke  of  reports,  in  the  records  of 
immemorial  customs,  and  in  cases  occasionally  ad- 
judged :  which  are  not  an  artificial  system  drawn  up 
by  the  rules  of  method,  but  rather  historical  collec- 
tions of  what  was  solemnly  discussed,  and  judici- 
ously delivered,  in  several  reigns,  pro  ne  nat«i — as 
occasions  have  arisen,  and  always  taken  for  law ;  and 
according  to  which  the  practice  has  always  been  ; 
(with  which,  if  I  may  be  allowed  to  compare  that 
which,  infinitely  more  sacred  and  inviolable,  cannot 
be  altered  or  amended  by  any  wisdom  or  power  on 
earth  ;)  such'are  the  books  of  the  Scripture,  histories 
of  the  several  ages  of  the  church,  (as  those  of  the 
several  reigns  of  the  kings,)  and  of  the  discoveries 
of  God's  mind  and  will  in  every  age,  as  there  was 
occasion;  and  these,  too,  built  upon  ancient  princi- 
ples, received  and  submitted  to  before  these  divine 
annals  began  to  be  written. 

But  though  those  are  the  fountains  and  founda 
tionS  of  the  law,  those  gentlemen  know  that  institutes 
and  abridgments,  collections  of  and  references  to,  the 
cases  adjudgid  in  the  hooks,  are  of  great  use  to  them, 
to  prepare  them  for  the  study  of  the  originals,  and 
to  assist  them  in  the  application  of  them,  but  are 
.  not  thought  to  derogate  from  the  authority  and  ho- 
nour of  them.  Such  we  reckon  our  forms  of  sound 
words  to  be  ;  if  in  any  thing  they  mistake  the  sense 
of  the  text,  or  misapply  it,  they  must  be  corrected 
by  it ;  but  as  far  as  they  agree  with  it,  they  are  of 
great  use  to  make  it  more  easy  and  ready  to  us. 

That  which  is  intended  in  these  forms  of  sound 
words,  is,  not  like  the  council  of  Trent,  to  make  a 
new  creed,  and  add  it  to  what  we  have  in  the  Scrip- 
ture ;  but  to  collect  and  arrange  the  truths  and  laws 
of  God,  and  to  make  them  familiar. 

(1.)  By  these  forms  of  sound  words,  the  main 
principles  of  Christianity,  which  lie  scattered  in  the 
Scripture,  are  collected  and  brought  together.  We 
know  that  all  Scripture  is  given  by  inspiration  of 
God,  and  is  profitable,  and  that  there  is  no  idle  word 
in  God's  book,  nothing  that  is  unnecessary;  but 
we  know  that  all  is  not  alike  profitable,  or  alike 
necessary.  Every  line  in  a  well  drawn  picture  is 
of  use,  and  answers  some  end ;  but  every  line  is  not 
alike  serviceable  to  the  main  design  of  the  picture, 
which  is  to  represent  the  face  of  the  person  whose 
picture  it  is,  yet  we  must  not  say  therefore,  that  it 
might  as  well  have  been  spared.  The  Scripture  gives 
us  the  things  of  God  in  their  native  purity  and  plain- 
ness, yet  not  without  their  proper  illustrations.  It 
is  naked  truth,  that  is,  without  disguise,  and  the 
ambiguity  which  Apollo's  oracles  were  noted  for, 
but  not  NAKED  truth,  without  dress  and  ornament. 
Now  our  catechisms  and  confessions  of  faith  pick 

u  Acts  xi.  14.        r  Heb.  v.  la.    Heb.  vi  l.        »  isa.  viil,  20. 


CATECHISING  OF  YOUTH. 


629 


op  from  the  several  parts  of  holy  writ,  those  pas- 
sages, which  though,  perhaps,  occasionally  deliver- 
ed, contain  the  essentials  of  religion,  the  foundations 
and  main  pillars  upon  which  Christianity  is  huilt ; 
which  we  are  concerned  rightly  to  understand,  and 
finnly  to  believe,  in  the  first  place,  and,  then,  to  go 
OD  to  perfection.  We  cannot  contain  all  the  Scrip- 
ture ;  hut  there  are  some  more  weighty  and  compre- 
hensive sayings,  which  (like  those  which  the  Jews 
wrote  in  their  phylacteries)  we  should  bind,  for  a  sign, 
upon  our  hand,  and  which  should  be  as  frontlets 
between  our  eyes.''  And  our  forms  of  sound  words 
furnish  us  with  these. 

(2.)  By  these,  the  truths  of  God  are  arranged  and 
pot  in  order.  The  several  books  of  Scripture  are 
written  in  an  excellent  method,  according  as  the 
particular  nature  and  intention  of  them  is,  and  they 
are  put  together  in  an  admirable  good  order :  bat 
when  out  of  them  the  main  principles  of  religion  are 
to  be  gathered,  it  is  necessary  that  they  be  put  into 
some  method  proper  to  serve  the  design  of  repre- 
senting them  at  one  view,  that  we  may  understand 
them  the  more  distinctly,  by  observing  their  mutual 
references  to  each  other,  their  connexion  with,  and 
dependence  upon,  each  other ;  and  thereby  they 
appear  in  their  truer  light,  and  fuller  lustre. 

These  forms  of  sound  words  show  us  the  order 
that  is  in  God's  words,  as  well  as  in  his  works  ;  the 
harmony  of  divine  troths,  how  one  thing  tends  to 
another,  and  all  centre  in  Christ,  and  the  gtory  of 
God  in  Christ :  and  thus,  like  the  stones  in  an  arch, 
they  mutually  support,  and  strengthen,  and  fix  one 
another.  They  are  as  a  map  of  the  land  of  promise, 
by  the  help  of  which  we  may  travel  it  over  with  our 
eye  in  a  little  time,  and  know  the  true  situation  of 
every  tribe,  though  we  cannot  give  a  particular  de- 
scnption  of  every  part  of  its  inheritance. 

(3.)  By  these,  the  truths  of  God  are  brought  down 
to  the  capacity  of  young  ones,  and  those  who  are  as 
yet  but  weak  in  understanding.  Not  that  God  has 
tpokein  secret,  in  a  dark  place  of  the  earth  ;f  no,  the 
V9rds  of  wisdom's  nufuth  are  all  plain  to  him  that  un- 
derstandeth.*  But  to  those  who  are  yet  babes  they 
seed  to  be  explained;  to  them  we  must  give  tlie 
iense,  and  cause  them  to  understand  the  reading  ;*  and 
this  is  in  part  done  by  those  forms  of  sound  words, 
which  lead  us  by  the  hand  as  it  were  into  the  know- 
ledge of  the  truth  as  it  is  in  Jesus.  Not  that  we 
need  to  seek  other  words  than  those  which  the  Holy 
Ghost  teaches  ;  they  are  the  most  proper  vehicle  of 
the  things  which  are  given  us  of  God  to  know^^  and 
it  is  unsafe  to  depart  from  them.  Many,  under  pre- 
tence of  refining  upon  the  Scripture,  and  expressing 
the  things  contained  in  it  more  philosophically,  have 
but  darkened  counsel  by  words  without  knowledge  *S 
the  faithful  servant  will  deliver  his  message  as  near 

>  Dent.  vi.  a  7  Isa  ziv.  19.  «  Prov.  viii.  9. 

•  Neb.  viii.  8.  b  i  Cor.  ii.  13. 


as  he  can  in  his  master's  own  words  ;  Go  (says  God 
to  Ezekiel)  get  thee  to  the  house  of  Israel ;  and  do  not 
only  speak  my  words,  hut  speak  idth  my  words  to  them,^ 

But  spiritual  things  must  be  compared  with  spi- 
ritual, and  by  the  plainer  parts  of  Scripture,  those 
must  be  explained  that  are  more  dark  and  hard  to 
be  understood  ;  and  this  is  done  by  our  forms  of 
sound  words,  which  make  the  principles  of  religion 
to  be  as  milk  for  babes,  who  as  yet  cannot  bear 
strong  meat.'  The  ten  commandments  are  a  divine 
form  of  sound  words  to  direct  our  practice^  but  they 
are  short  and  exceeding  comprehensive  ;  it  is  there- 
fore necessary  that  we  be  taught  from  other  Scrip- 
tures, what  each  commandment  requires  and  for- 
bids. The  Lord's  prayer  is  another  divine  form  of 
sound  words  to  direct  our  petitions ;  but  that  also  is 
short  and  comprehensive,  and  it  is  requisite  we 
should  be  taught  from  other  Scriptures,  what  we 
pray  for  in  each  petition.  The  form  of  baptism  is 
another  divine  form  of  sound  words,  peculiar  to  the 
Christian  dispensation ;  but  that  also  needs  to  be 
explained  by  other  Scriptures,  as  it  is  excellently 
well  in  the  ancient  creeds ;  which  we  receive  and 
embrace,  and  greatly  rejoice  in,  as  standing,  lasting 
testimonies  to  the  faith  once  delivered  to  the  saints,' 
which,  by  the  grace  of  God,  we  will  not  only  adhere 
to,  but  earnestly  contend  for,  and  live  and  die  by. 
And  all  these  divine  forms  of  sound  words  you  have 
fully  and  fai thfully  set  before  you,  and  opened  to  you , 
in  the  Assembly's  Larger  and  Shorter  Catechism ; 
as,  blessed  be  God,  they  are  in  many  other,  both  in 
our  own  and  other  reformed  churches. 

3.  Those  are  happy  who  are  well  taught,  and  have 
well  learned,  those  forms  of  sound  words  when  they 
are  young.  It  is  a  great  privilege,  and  %  very  im- 
proving one,  to  be  betimes  instructed  in  the  prin- 
ciples of  religion,  and  to  have  the  truths  of  Christ 
instilled  into  us  in  the  days  of  our  youth,  and  to  be 
trained  up  in  an  acquaintance  and  converse  with 
them  from  the  first ;  by  the  care  of  godly  parents 
especially,  who  have  many  advantages  in  dealing 
with  children  which  ministers  cannot  have,  to  be  put 
betimes  upon  reading  the  Scriptures,  and  getting 
portions  of  it  by  heart ;  remembering  and  repeating 
sermons  ;  to  be  taught  the  catechism,  and  examined 
in  it,  and  not  only  made  to  say  it,  but  made,  as  we 
are  capable,  to  understand  it,  and  taught  to  prove  it 
by  Scripture,  and  give  a  reason  for  it ;  to  be  directed 
to  pray,  and  obliged  to  do  it;  and  to  a  strict  observa- 
tion of  the  Lord's  day,  in  order  to  all  this.  And  if 
to  all  this  be  added  ministerial  catechising,  the  more 
copious  and  accurate  explication  of  the  mysteries  of 
God  by  the  appointed  stewards  of  those  mysteries, 
it  consummates  the  happiness  of  a  religious  educa- 
tion, from  which  abundant  advantages  may  be 
reaped,  if  it  be  wisely  and  faithfully  improved. 


e  Job  xxi?iil.  S. 
•  Heb.  V.  12. 


d  Ezek.  iii.  4. 
f  Jude  a 


630 


A  SERMON  CONCERNING  THE 


I  know  I  speak  to  those  wbo  enjoy  this  privilege, 
on  whom  the  doctrine  of  Christ  not  only  comes 
down  in  showert,  in  the  preaching  of  the  word,  but 
on  whom  it  distils  more  slowly  and  softly,  as  tfie  dew^ 
and  as  the  small  rain  upon  the  tender  herb^^  in  cate- 
chising. And  I  commend  your  pious  zeal  in  covet- 
ing and  seeking  instruction  this  way.  Go  on,  and 
prosper,  the  Lord  is  with  you  while  you  be  with  him: 
and  I  hope  it  is  a  token  fur  good,  and  will  prove  so, 
that  God  has  mercy  in  store  for  the  next  genera- 
tion,— that  there  are  so  many  young  people  among 
us  who  are  asking  tlieir  way  to  Zion,  and  desire  to  be 
told  it,  le^t^A  their  faces  thitherward.  Who  hath  be- 
gotten  us  these  ? 

I  know  also  there  are  many,  and  many  there  have 
been,  who  were  blest  with  a  religious  education 
when  they  were  young,  and  were  then  trained  up  in 
the  way  in  which  they  should  go,  who  have  after- 
wards turned  aside  trom  the  holy  commandment ; 
who  though  they  were  not  born  of  fornication^  but 
were  the  seed  of  the  faithful,  yet  have  proved  an  un- 
faithful seed,  and  have  themselves  gone  a  whoring 
from  their  God,  This  should  not  discourage  parents 
and  ministers  from  doing  their  duty,  in  catechising 
youth,  but  should  direct  them  to  look  up  to  God 
for  his  grace,  without  which  all  our  care  and  pains 
is  fruitless,  and  we  do  but  beat  the  air ;  and  should 
engage  gou  who  are  catechised  to  be  jealous  over 
yourselves,  with  a  godly  jealousy,  that  you  may  not 
be  conceited  of  yourselves,  or  confident  in  yourselves, 
may  not  be  high-minded,  but  may  always /ear  lest 
you  seem  to  come  short  of  that  which  is  expected  from 
you,  or  seem  to  fall  off  to  any  evil  work  or  way,  and 
though  now  you  think  you  stand,  may  always  take 
heed  lest  you  fall. 

But  I  know  that  your  being  thus  catechised,  if 
you  improve  it  aright,  and  be  not  wanting  to  your- 
selves, will  be  of  unspeakable  advantage  to  you ;  and 
I  hope  to  be  of  use,  both  to  direct  you  and  to  encou- 
rage you,  if  I  tell  you  how  and  which  way  it  may 
be  made  so. 

(1.)  Hereby  gou  are,  for  some  time,  well  employed 
now  you  are  young.  Childhood  and  youth,  upon  this 
account,  (among  others,)  are  vanity,^  that  so  much 
of  the  time  is  then  spent  to  so  little  purpose,  and  yet 
better  than,  as  it  is  afterwards  spent  by  many,  to 
evil  purposes.  But  your  being  catechised  obliges 
you  to  spend  at  least  some  part  of  your  time  well, 
and  so  as  you  may  afterwards  reflect  upon  it  with 
comfort  and  satisfaction  above  many  other,  perhaps 
above  any  other,  of  your  precious  moments.  If  the 
time  which  children  and  young  people  would,  other- 
wise,  spend  in  sport  and  recreation,  (they  call  it 
PA8[s]-TiME,  when  we  have  more  need  of  sta  Y-times 
than  pastimes,  for  It  passes  away  fast  enough  of 
itself,)  is  thus  happily  retrieved,  and  is  spent  in 


ff  Deut.  zxxii.  2. 


h  Jer.  1.  5. 


i  Eccl.  xi.  10. 


good  exercises ;  in  conversing  with  the  word  of  God  ; 
(which  we  should  be  meditating  in  day  and  night,) 
in  reviewing  and  repeating  to  ourselves  the  things 
of  God ;  we  cannot  but  say  that  it  is  a  kindness  to 
us,  and  much  greater  than  it  would  be,  to  keep  a 
man  from  spending  an  estate  wastefully,  and  put 
him  into  a  way  of  getting  an  estate  easily  and  ho- 
nourably. Whatever  goes  with  the  rest  of  yoor  time, 
here  is  a  portion  of  it  spent  so  as  to  turn  to  a  good 
account,  and  so  as  you  may  meet  it  again  with  com- 
fort on  the  other  side  death  and  the  grave. 

Those  who  are  catechised  either  by  their  parents 
or  ministers  on  the  evening  of  the  Lord's  day,  haTe 
a  particular  advantage  therein :  that  those  precious 
minutes,  (and  one  minute  of  sabbath  time  is  worth 
three  of  any  other  day,)  which  so  many  young  people 
idle  away  in  foreign,  foolish  talk,  either  in  the  fields, 
or  at  the  doors  of  their  houses,  (which  corrupts  the 
mind  and  manners,  and  dispels  what  they  had  g^n- 
ed,  if  they  had  gained  any  thing,  in  and  by  the 
duties  of  the  day,)  they  spend  in  that  which  serves 
such  good  purposes,  and  will  help  to  clench  the  nail 
that  has  been  driven,  that  it  may  be  a  nail  in  a  rure 
place.  I  know  not  how  young  people  can  be  trained 
up  to  a  better  piece  of  good  husbandry,  than  to  a 
good  husbandry  of  time,  especially  sabbath  time. 

(2.)  Hereby  you  will  become  better  abU  to  under- 
stand the  word  preached,  and  more  capable  of  profiting 
by  it,  and  so  it  will  be  a  great  advantage  to  you.  I 
am  sure  it  is  the  duty  of  ministers  to  preach  the 
word,  and  therein  to  be  constant,  to  be  instant  in 
season  and  out  of  season,  they  have  [2  Tim.  ir.  1, 
2.]  received  a  solemn  charge  to  do  so ;  and  if  so, 
either  you  must  hear,  or  they  must  preach  to  the 
walls.  And  I  am  sure  you  are  concerned  to  hear, 
so  that  your  souls  may  live  ;  and  therefore  to  take 
heed  how  you  hear,  and,  in  order  to  your  profiting, 
to  hear  witli  understanding.  The  highway  ground 
in  our  Saviour's  parable,  represents  those  who  hear 
the  words  of  the  kingdom,  and  understand  it  not  ;^ 
for  it  is  not  ploughed  up  and  prepared  to  receive  it ; 
they  are  not  instructed  in  the  things  that  are  spoken 
of,  and  therefore  such  as  speak  to  them  of  those  things 
are  barbarians.  They  who  are  not  catechised,  not 
taught  the  forms  of  sound  words,  apprehend  not 
what  we  mean  when  we  speak  of  their  misery  by 
nature,  the  sinfulness  of  sin,  the  mediation  of  Christ, 
the  operations  of  the  Spirit,  and  the  great  things  of 
the  other  world ;  we  had  as  good  talk  Greek  to  them : 
they  are  ready  to  say  of  us,  as  the  people  did  of  Eze« 
kiel's  preaching,  Doth  he  not  speak  parables?'- 

But  you  who  are  catechised  understand  our  dia- 
lect, are  acquainted  with  Scripture  language ;  for 
you  are  accustomed  to  it,  and  can  say,  "  This  good 
word  is  the  confirmation,  and  that  the  illustration, 
and  the  other  the  application,  of  what  we  have  many 


k  Matt.  xifi.  19. 


1  Czek.  XX  49. 


CATECHISING  OF  YOUTH. 


831 


a  time  heard,  and  knew  before,  but  thus  are  made 
to  Loow  better.  And  therefore  though  those  who 
ha?e  not  been  catechized  do  most  need  instruction, 
by  the  preaching  of  the  word ;  (and  for  their  sakes 
we  must  many  a  time  stay  to  explain  things  which 
are  most  plain,  wherein  they  who  are  strong  ought  to 
bear  with  us,  in  compassion  to  the  infirmities  of  the 
weak ;)  yet  those  who  have  been  well  catechised  do 
most  desire  it,  and  delight  in  it,  and  edify  by  it,  be- 
cause they  understand  it  Catechising  does  to  the 
preaching  of  the  word  the  same  good  ofiice  that  John 
Baptist  did  to  oar  Saviour ;  it  prepares  its  way,  and 
makes  its  paths  straight,  and  yet  like  him  does  but 
say  the  same  things :  "  Repent  with  an  eye  to  the  kiny- 
dom  of  heaven." 

(3.)  Hereby  you  vUl  have  a  foundation  laid  for 
a  good  work  of  grace  in  your  souls.  It  is  true,  that 
God  in  his  favours  to  us,  and  his  operations  on  us, 
acts  as  a  God,  with  an  incontestable  sovereignty, 
and  an  irresistible  power ;  but  it  is  as  true  that  he 
deals  with  men  as  men,  as  reasonable  creatures,  in  a 
way  suited  to  their  nature,  he  draws  with  the  cords  of  a 
man ;"  he  gains  possession  of  the  will  and  affections 
by  opening  the  understanding,  informing  the  judg- 
ment, and  rectifying  its  mistakes.  And  this  is  enter- 
ing into  the  soul,  as  the  good  Shepherd,  whose  own 
the  sheep  are,  enters  into  the  sheepfold  by  the  door;" 
whereas  Satan  debauches  the  aifections,  and  so  per- 
verts the  will,  and  bribes  and  blinds  the  understand- 
ing, which  is  climbing  up  another  way,  for  he  is  a 
thief  and  a  robber.  Christ  opens  the  understand- 
ing, and  so  makes  the  heart  to  bum  ;  opens  men's 
eyes,  and  canaes  the  scales  to  fall  from  them ;  and 
so  tarns  men  from  Satan  to  God. 

Now  though  Christ  can  give  an  understanding 
immediately,  as  to  Paul ;  yet  ordinarily  he  enlight- 
ens it,  in  the  use  of  means,  and  gives  a  knowledge 
of  divine  things,  by  the  instructions  of  parents  and 
ministers;  and  afterwards  by  his  Spirit  and  grace 
brings  them  home  to  the  mind  and  conscience,  de- 
lirers  the  soal  into  the  mould  of  them,  and  by  them 
works  a  saving  change  in  it.  It  was  the  prerogative 
of  an  apostle  to  come  to  the  knowledge  of  the  gospel, 
not  by  man,  nor  to  be  taught  ft,  but  by  the  revela- 
tion of  Jesus  Christ ;°  we  must  come  to  the  know- 
ledge of  it,  in  the  way  of  instituted  ordinances ;  and 
none  more  likely  to  prepare  for  the  particular  appli- 
cations of  divine  grace,  than  this  particular  appli- 
cation of  good  instruction  by  catechizing. 

(4.)  Hereby  you  will  be  a}'med  against  the  assaults 
nd  insinuaiioHs  of  seducers,  ^d  such  as  lie  in  wait 
t3  deceive,  and  draw  you  aside  into  the  paths  of 
error.  Satan  is  a  roaring  lion,  who  seeks  in  this 
way  to  devour  souls ;  and  none  are  such  an  easy 
prey  to  him  as  those  who  are  ignorant  and  unskil- 
ful in  the  word  of  righteousness.    But  those  who 

«  Hos.  xi.  4.       ■  John  z.  1,  &      o  Gftl.  i.  18.      p  2  Pet.  iii.  17. 


are  well  instructed  in  the  forms  of  sound  words,  and 
understand  the  evidence  of  divine  truths,  are  aware 
of  the  fallacies  with  which  others  are  beguiled,  and 
know  how  to  detect  and  escape  them,  for  surely  in 
vain  is  the  net  spread  m  the  sight  of  any  bird.  They 
who  grow  in  the  knowledge  of  Christ,  will  not  be 
visibly  led  away  bj'  the  error  of  the  wicked,  so  as  to 
fall  from  their  own  stedfastness  ;p  those  who  are 
thus  established  when  they  are  children,  will  not  be 
always  children^  tossed  about  with  every  wind  of  doe- 
trine,*^ 

Those  who  are  well  catechised,  are  well  fortified 
against  temptations  to  atheism  and  infidelity,  which, 
under  pretence  of  FREE-thinking,  invite  men  to 
FALSE  and  FOOLiSH-thinking ;  and  by  debauching 
their  principles,  corrupt  their  morals:  and  which, 
under  pretence  of  a  free  conversation,  allure  to  vice 
and  IMMORALITY,  enslave  the  soul  to  the  most  bru- 
tish lusts,  and  by  corrupting  the  morals,  debauch 
the  principles.  It  will  likewise  be  an  excellent  an- 
tidote against  the  poison  of  popery ;  a  national  zeal 
against  which  is,  then,  likely  to  be  an  effectual  de- 
fence of  the  protestant  religion,  when  it  is  a  zeal 
according  to  knowledge.  A  right  understanding  of 
the  offices  and  ordinances  of  Christ,  the  former  of 
which  are  daringly  usurped,  and  the  latter  wickedly 
corrupted  and  profaned,  in  the  church  of  Rome,  will, 
by  the  blessing  of  God,  preserve  us  from  going  in 
with  those  strong  delusions,  though  the  temptation 
should  be  ever  so  strong,  and  prepare  us  to  suffer, 
rather  than  to  sin,  if  we  should  be  called  out  to  it. 

(5.)  Hereby  you  will  be  furnished  for  doing  good 
to  others,  in  the  places  where  God  has  set  you. 
Your  being  well  instructed  in  the  forms  of  sound 
words,  will  qualify  you  to  be  useful  in  your  gene- 
ration, for  the  glory  of  God,  and  the  edification  of 
many ;  which  will  be  your  honour  and  comfort  now, 
and  will  add  to  your  crown  hereafter.  Out  of  a 
good  treasure  of  Christian  knowledge  well  laid  up 
when  you  are  young,  you  will  be  able,  like  the  good 
householder,  to  bring  forth  things  new  and  old,^  as 
there  is  occasion,  for  the  entertainment  and  benefit 
of  others.  Out  of  the  abtmdance  of  the  heart  the 
mouth  will  speak.  Hereby  you  will  be  able  to  resist 
and  oppose  that  evil  communication  which  corrupts 
good  manners,  and  to  put  to  silence  the  ignorance 
of  foolish  men  ;  and  not  only  so,  but  to  advance  and 
keep  up  that  communication  which  is  good,  and  to 
the  use  of  edifying/  which  may  manifest  grace  in 
your  hearts,  and  minister  grace  to  the  hearers. 
These  forms  of  sound  words  will  teach  you  that 
sound  spirit  which  cannot  be  condemned.'  And 
thus  your  lips  will  feed  many. 

It  will  be  likewise  of  great  use  to  you  in  prayer ; 
both  in  secret,  and  with  your  families,  when  God 
calls  you  to  the  charge  of  families.    With  what 

I       __    ,  — -' -         

4  Eph.  It.  14.       r  Matt.  ziii.  59.      •  Eph.  It.  S9.      t  Tit.  ii.  a 


MSI 


A  SERMON  CONCERNING  THE 


solid  judgment,  exact  method,  aptness,  and  gpreat  va- 
riety of  expression,  have  I  heard  private  Christians, 
who  have  been  well  instructed  in  the  things  of  God, 
and  conversant  with  the  Scripture,  offer  up  their 
prayers  and  supplications  to  God,  without  the  help 
of  any  other  forms,  but  those  forms  of  sound  words ; 
and  this  with  such  undissembled  indications  of  pious 
affection,  as  has  been  very  proper  to  kindle  and 
excite,  to  raise  and  carry  on,  the  devotions  of  those 
who  joined  with  them.  I  believe  some  who  are 
pleased  to  be  severe,  in  their  reflections  upon  all 
extemporary  prayer,  as  we  call  it,  would  not  be  so, 
if  they  knew  thu  so  well  as  I  have  done. 

(6.)  Hereby,  those  who  have  a  good  worh  of  grace 
begun  in  them,  will  be  greatly  assisted  in  the  progress 
of  it.  Timothy,  by  the  help  of  these  forms  of  sound 
words,  is  nourished  up  in  faith  and  good  doctrine, 
whereunto  he  has  attained."  They  who  have  pure 
hearts  and  clean  hands,  hereby  shall  become  stronger 
and  stronger^  in  judgment,  in  affection,  and  in 
resolution.  The  more  firmly  the  foundation  is  laid, 
the  broader  and  the  higher  the  building  may  be 
carried.  And  the  better  we  understand  tlie  road 
we  are  to  travel,  the  better  we  shall  get  forward  in 
our  journey.  Affectionate  Christians  who  are  weak 
in  knowledge,  have  but  the  wings  of  a  dove  that 
flies  low ;  but  knowing  Christians  are  carried  on  as 
upon  eagles'  wings,  with  which  they  mount  up  for 
the  prize  of  the  high  calling, — ^they  run  and  are  not 
weary. 

And  those  who  have  themselves  some  good  mea- 
sures of  knowledge  and  grace,  may  be  greatly  im- 
proved in  both,  by  attending  upon  public  catechising; 
and  if  young,  by  bearing  a  part  in  it.  Apollos  was 
an  eloquent  man,  and  mighty  in  the  Scriptures; 
and  he  was  instructed  in  the  way  of  the  Lord,* 
KaTfixvfuvoc — he  was  catechised,  so  the  word  is :  and 
he  was  fervent  in  spirit,  yet  he  was  still  willing  to 
learn,  and  found  advantage  by  it ;  for  there  were 
those  who  took  him,  and  expounded  to  him  the  way 
of  God  more  perfectly.  Those  who  think  they  un- 
derstand the  way  of  God  pretty  well,  yet  should  still 
be  increasing  with  the  increase  of  God,  should  not 
think  they  have  already  attained,  or  are  already 
perfect,  but  should  be  pressing  forward,  and  covet 
to  understand  the  way  of  God  more  perfectly. 

(7.)  Hereby  you  will  have  your  memories  well  stored 
for  your  own  use,  and  will  have  always  good  matter 
ready  at  hand  for  pious  thoughts  and  meditations. 
It  is  certainly  as  much  the  benefit,  as  it  is  the  duty, 
of  Christians,  to  converse  much  in  their  hearts  with 
the  things  of  God.  It  is  the  character  of  the  blessed 
man,  and  an  evidence  of  his  delighting  in  the  law 
of  God  after  the  inner  man,  that  in  that  law  he  medi- 
tates day  and  night,^  O  how  do  I  love  it !  says  David, 
it  is  my  meditation  all  the  day ;'  it  is  the  subject. 


n  1  Tim.  Iv.  «. 


r  Job  xvii.  9. 


Acts  xTiii.  34-26. 


not  only  of  my  frequent,  but  of  my  fixed,  thoughts : 
not  now  and  then,  upon  an  occasion,  but  constantly. 
And  if  David  could  find  such  employment  and  en- 
tertainment for  his  thoughts  from  morning  till  night 
in  the  law  of  God,  much  more  may  we  find  satisfac- 
tion in  it,  and  the  gospel  of  Christ  too,  which  so  far 
excels  it. 

Now  one  reason  why  this  duty  of  meditation  is  so 
much  neglected,  is,  because  people  want  matter  for 
their  thoughts  to  enlarge  and  expatiate  upon ;  and 
the  reason  of  that  is,  because  they  were  never 
enriched,  as  they  should  have  been,  in  all  know- 
ledge;' their  stock  is  soon  exhausted,  and  they 
know  not  what  to  think  of  next  But  if  yon  get  an 
abundance  of  good  knowledge,  you  will  never  have 
to  seek  for  something  proper  and  useful  to  entertain 
yourselves  with.  You  soon  forget  the  sermons  you 
hear;  but  if  your  catechism  was  well  learned,  and 
the  proofs  of  it,  you  can  never  forget  them ;  so  that 
you  may  at  any  time  take  an  answer  of  your  cate- 
chism, and  dwell  upon  that  in  your  thoughts,  till 
your  hearts  burn  within  you. 

(8.)  Hereby  you  will  be  enabled  to  transmit,  pure 
and  entire,  to  those  who  come  after  you,  that  good 
thing  which  is  committed  to  you.  The  truths  and 
ordinances  of  Christ  are  a  sacred  deposit,  a  trust 
handed  down  to  us  by  our  believing  predecessors, 
and  lodged  in  our  hands,  to  be  carefully  kept  in  our 
day,  and  faithfully  transferred  to  the  generations  to 
come :  but  how  can  we  do  that,  if  we  be  not  our- 
selves both  rightly  and  fully  apprized  of  it  We 
are  false  to  this  trust,  not  only  if  we  betray  it,  by 
the  admission  of  heresy  and  idolatry  ;  but  if  we  lose 
it,  and  let  it  drop,  by  ignorance  and  carelessness, 
and  unacquaintedness  with,  and  indifference  to,  the 
interests  of  Christianity. 

We  of  this  age  cannot  otherwise  repay  what  we 
received  from  those  who  went  before  us,  than  by 
consigning  the  value  received  to  those  who  come 
after  us ;  nor  make  any  other  requital  to  our  parents, 
for  giving  us  a  good  education,  but  by  giving  the  like 
to  our  children  ;  which,  therefore,  with  the  utmost 
care  and  pains  we  should  qualify  ourselves  to  do, 
and  then  make  conscience  of  doing.  A.nd  those  who 
have  not  children  of  their  own,  ought  to  do  it  for 
the  children  of  their  relations,  and  the  children  of 
the  poor,  and  to  promote  public  catechisings  and 
charity  schools ;  and  thus  contribute  what  they  can 
to  the  raising  up  of  a  seed  to  serve  Christ,  which 
shall  be  accounted  to  him  for  a  generatioo,  that 
thus  the  name  of  Ch^st  may  endure  for  ever,  and 
his  throne  as  the  days  of  heaven.  What  has  been 
told  to  us  of  the  wondrous  works  of  God,  we  mnst 
tell  to  our  children,  that  they  may  tell  them  to  their 
children,  that  those  who  shall  be  created  may  praise 
the  Lord.* 

X  Ps.  i.  2.     7  Ps-  cxix.  17.     « I  Cor.  i.  5.      a  PSw  IxxTlii.  5  a 


CATECHISING  OF  YOUTH. 


833 


II.  Those  who  have  the  primlege  to  hear  and  learn 
the  forms  of  soand  words,  with  it  have  a  charge, — 
To  hold  them  fast  in  faith  and  love,  which  is  in 
Christ  Jesus. 

This  implies  that  yoa  are  in  dangler  of  losing 
them,  and  beings  robbed  of  them,  through  your  own 
negligence  of  having  them  snatched  oat  of  your 
hands  by  your  spiritual  enemies,  or  drop  through 
jour  fingers  if  you  do  not  hold  them  fast.  Satan  is 
that  wicked  one  who  steals  the  word  of  God  out  of 
the  hearts  of  the  careless  hearers  and  learners ;  as  the 
fowls'  of  the  air  do  the  seed  from  the  highway 
gTound,i>  that  it  could  not  have  any  root  in.  Many 
have  had  the  form  of  sound  words,  and  with  it  a 
foim  of  godliness,  and  a  name  to  live ;  but  have  let 
them  go,  and  lost  them ;  have  made  shipwreck  of 
the  faith,  and  of  their  own  souls.  Let  their  falls  be 
warnings  to  as,  and  let  us  therefore  fear  lesi  we  also 
eeme  shorty  or  so  much  as  seem  to  come  short. 

I  know  I  speak  to  those  who  have  the  form  of 
sonnd  words,  who  have  hold  of  it.  In  God's  name 
therefore  I  charge  you  to  hold  it  fast,  to  keep  your 
bold  of  it,  in  faith  and  love  which  is  in  Christ  Jesus. 

1.  You  must  hold  it  fast,  that  is,  you  must  retain 
the  remembrance  of  it ;  keep  it  in  mind  and  me- 
mory ;  yoa  have  it,  see  that  you  always  have  it,  that 
jOQ  have  it  ready  for  your  use  upon  all  occasions. 
Great  stress  is  laid  upon  this :  the  gospel  is  that  by 
which  we  are  saved,  if  we  keep  in  memory  what  has 
been  preached  onto  us.^  Not  as  if  the  bare  remem- 
bering and  being  able  to  recite  these  sound  words, 
and  the  forms  of  them,  were  sufficient  to  save  us ; 
they  do  not  heal  as  charms  and  spells  pretend  to  do, 
merely  by  the  repeating  or  writing  of  them  ;  a  man 
may  be  able  to  say  all  the  Bible  over  by  heart,  and 
jet  come  short  of  grace  and  glory ;  but  the  remem- 
bering of  these  things  is  necessary  to  our  due  im- 
provement of  them,  and  to  the  other  duties  required 
of  Ds :  if  we  so  remember  the  covenant  as  to  be  ever 
ffliodful  of  it ;  if  we  remember  his  commandments 
to  do  them,^  we  remember  them  aright 

(1.)  It  will  be  of  good  use  to  3*ou,  to  retain  the 
words  yoa  now  learn  and  hear ;  and  in  order  to  that, 
frequently  to  review  them,  to  catechise  yourselves, 
aod  repeat  them  over  to  yourselves.  What  you  said 
to  your  parents  perhaps  by  rote,  when  you  were 
children,  and  not  yet  capable  of  knowing  the  intent 
and  extent  of,  you  should  now  say  to  yourselves, 
with  understanding,  and  judgment,  and  affection. 
Let  not  the  wisest  and  best  be  ashamed  to  repeat  the 
words  of  their  catechism,  as  they  have  occasion  to 
qaote  them ;  but  let  them  rather  be  ashamed  who 
cannot  do  it ;  who  can  remember,  all  their  days,  the 
idle  foolish  stories  and  songs  they  learned  when 
they  were  yoang,  but  forget  the  forms  of  those  words 
whereby  they  must  be  saved,  and  must  be  judged. 


kUatt.  xlii.  ta 


c  1  Cor.  XV.  1. 2.    4  1  Cbron.  xvi.  16.   t  Heb.  ii.  I. 
3  H 


(2.)  It  is  of  absolute  necessity  that  you  retain  the 
remembrance  of  the  things,  so  as  to  have  them  ready 
for  nse,  though  it  be  in  your  own  words.  It  is  neces- 
sary that  you  should  be  well  acquainted  with  the 
mystery  of  the  gospel ;  with  your  need  of  a  Saviour; 
with  the  method  in  which  the  salvation  was  wrought 
out  by  the  Son  of  God,  and  is  applied  by  the  Spirit 
of  God ;  with  the  breadth  of  the  commandment,  and 
with  the  strictness  and  spiritual  nature  of  it ;  with 
the  tenor  of  the  new  covenant,  and  the  precious 
privileges  of  it ;  and  with  the  great  truths  concern- 
ing the  upper  and  future  world :  in  these  things  you 
have  been  instructed ;  and  are  concerned  to  give 
the  more  earnest  heed  to  the  things  you  have  heard, 
lest  at  any  time  you  let  them  slip."    Consider, 

[1.]  They  are  things  worth  remembering ;  of  in- 
estimable value  in  themselves,  and  of  vast  import- 
ance and  concern  to  us ;  in  comparison  with  which, 
abundance  of  other  things  which  we  fill  our  memories 
with,  are  but  toys  and  trash.  How  many  things  do 
we  retain  the  remembrance  of,  which  tend  to  defile 
our  minds,  or  to  disquiet  them,  which  we  would 
willingly  forget  if  we  could  ;  and  how  many  more 
are  we  industrious  to  heep  in  memory,  which  serve 
only  to  the  carrying  on  of  our  business  in  the  world : 
whilst  THAT  is  seldom  or  never  seriously  thought  of, 
and  so  comes  by  degrees  to  be  in  a  manner  forgotten, 
WHICH  BELONGS  TO  OUR  PEACE,  our  cvcrlasting 
peace;  and  justly  may  that  be  hid  from  our  eyes/ 
which  we  thus  hide  our  eyes  from.  The  reason  Moses 
gives  to  Israel,  why  they  should  set  their  hearts  to 
all  the  words  he  testified  to  them,  will  hold  more 
strongly,  why  we  should  treasure  up  Chrisfs  word 
in*  our  heart,  and  let  it  dwell  in  us  richly,  that  It  is 
not  a  vain  thing  for  us,  but  it  is  our  life,^  and  the 
lives  of  our  souls  depend  upon  it. 

[2.]  The  remembrance  of  them  will  be  of  very 
great  and  good  use  to  us  daily ;  both  to  fortify  us 
against  every  evil  word  and  worh,  by  suggesting  to 
us  the  most  powerful  arguments  against  sin,  and 
the  most  pertinent  answers  to  the  temptations  of 
Satan ;  and  to  furnish  us  for  every  good  word  and 
work,  by  suggesting  to  us  the  wisest  directions,  and 
the  sweetest  encouragements,  in  doing  oar  duty.  If 
we  hold  fast  these  forms  of  sound  words  as  w.e.  ought, 
our  mouth,  like  that  of  the  righteous,  shall  speak  wis- 
dom, and  our  tongue  shall  be  able  to  talk  of  judgment. 
And  if  thus  the  law  of  our  God  be  in  our  heart,  none 
of  our  steps  shall  slide.  Solomon  for  this  reason 
writes  to  us  excellent  things  in  counsel  and  know- 
ledge, that  we  may  answer  the  words  of  truth  to  those 
that  send  to  us  f^  or,  as  the  margin  reads  it,  to  those 
that  send  us,  to  God,  who  sent  us  into  the  world  to 
do  all  the  good  we  can  in  it. 

[3.]  It  was  for  this  end  that  we  have  heard  and 
learned  them,  that  we  might  lay  them  up  in  our  hearts, 

i  Luke  xiz.  4L     g  Deut.  xxxli.  46^  47.      h  Prov.  xxii.  20, 2i. 


834 


A  SERMON  CONCERNING  THE 


in  order  to  their  being  of  use  to  us  hereafter ;  so  that 
we  receive  the  grace  of  God  therein  in  vain,  if  we 
do  not  retain  them.  They  are  not  intended  merely 
for  your  present  exercise  and  entertainment,  as  a 
task  upon  you  to  keep  you  employed,  much  less  as 
an  amusement  to  keep  up  in  you  a  reverence  for 
your  parents  and  teachers ;  but  they  were  intended 
to  fit  you  for  the  service  of  God  in  this  world,  and 
the  vision  and  fruition  of  him  in  a  better  world.  You 
learn  your  catechism,  not  as  you  who  were  designed 
for  tradesmen  learned  Latin  and  Greek,  when  you 
went  to  school,  it  may  be,  with  design  to  forget 
it,  because  you  had  a  notion  you  should  never  have 
occasion  for  it  in  your  business ;  but  as  you  learned 
to  write  and  cast  accounts^  with  design  to  retain  it, 
because  you  were  told  yon  would  have  use  for  it 
daily  in  carrying  on  your  trade.  You  are  taught 
now,  that  you  may,  as  long  as  yon  live,  live  accord- 
ing to  what  you  are  taught 

[4.]  You  will  be  called  to  an  account  shortly  for 
these,  as  well  as  other  your  advantages  ;  and  there- 
fore are  concerned  to  improve  them,  so  that  you 
may  give  up  your  account  with  joy,  such  joy  as  shall 
be  an  earnest  of  that  joy  of  our  Lord,  into  which 
ffood  and  faithful  servants,  who  have  diligently  and 
faithfully  improved  their  talents,  shall  enter,  and  in 
which  they  shall  be  for  ever  happy.  For  your  having 
heard  and  learned  these  things,  will  but  aggravate 
your  condemnation  if  you  do  not  hold  them  fast. 
You  know  what  was  Chorazin's  doom,  'and  Beth- 
saida's,  and  Capernaum's ;  tremble  lest  it  should  be 
yours.  It  is  an  awful  thought  which  I  have  some- 
where met  with,  "  That  the  professors  of  this  a{;e, 
in  which  there  is  such  plenty  of  the  means  of  know- 
ledge and  grace,  whether  they  go  to  heaven,  or  hell, 
will  be  the  greatest  debtors  in  either  of  these  places: 
if  to  heaven,  the  greatest  debtors  to  divine  mercy 
and  grace  for  those  improved  means  that  helped  to 
bring  them  thither ;  if  to  hell,  the  greatest  debtors  to 
divine  justice  for  those  abused  means  that  would 
have  helped  to  keep  them  thence.'' 

Let  not  what  I  have  said  of  the  necessity  of  re- 
membering the  sound  words  we  hear,  be  a  discou- 
ragement to  any  serious,  conscientious  Christians, 
who  have  honest  and  good  hearts,  but  weak  and 
treacherous  jnemories ;  nor  make  the  righteous  sad, 
who  ought  not  to  be  made  sad.  You  who  tremble 
at  God's  word,  do  really  get  good  by  it,  though  you 
cannot  recollect  the  method  and  language  in  which 
it  is  delivered  you.  If  you  live  in  the  fear  of  God, 
and  in  a  course  of  holy  watchfulness  against  sin, 
and  diligence  in  duty,  you  retain  the  impressions  of 
the  word,  though  yon  cannot  retain  the  expressions 
of  it  I  have  been  told  of  a  good,  man,  who  was 
much  affected  with  a  sermon  he  heard  concerning, 
as  it  would  appear,  the  vanity  of  the  world ;  and 

i  Pa.  exix.  n. 


commending  it  afterwards  to  a  friend,  was  desired 
to  give  some  account  of  the  sermon :  '*  Truly,"  says 
he,  **  I  cannot  remember  any  thing  of  it,  but  I  am 
resolved,  by  the  grace  of  God,  I  will  never  set  my 
heart  so  much  upon  this  world  as  I  have  done.  '* 
''  Why  then,"  (says  his  friend)  "  thou  rememberest 
all."  David  will  never  forget  God's  precepts,  for 
(says  he)  By  them  thou  hast  quiehened  me.*  If  we 
find  oar  hearts  quiehened  by  the  word,  we  do  not  for- 
get it ;  and  it  is  to  be  hoped  we  wiU  not,  we  shall  not, 
forget  it.  Put  a  sieve  that  is  dirty  into  the  water, 
and  though  when  you  take  it  out  it  carries  away  lit- 
tle or  nothing  of.  the  water  with  it,  yet  it  is  washed 
and  made  clean.  Though  we  cannot  repeat  the  good 
sermons  we  have  heard  ;  yet  if,  through  grace,  oar 
hearts  and  ways  are  purified  by  them,  they  are  not 
lost. 

But  let  what  I  have  said  engage  you  who  hear  and 
learn  the  forms  of  sound  words,  to  hold  them  fast, 
to  imprint  them  in  your  minds  and  memories,  that 
you  may  have  them  ready  to  you  at  all  times,  as 
occasion  requires.  In  order  to  this,  labour  to  un- 
derstand them;  and  let  your  knowledge  be  clear 
and  distinct,  and  then  you  will  be  likely  to  retain  it ; 
set  every  truth  in  its  proper  place,  and  then  you 
will  know  where  to  find  it;  set  it  in  its  true  light, 
and  then  you  will  know  what  use  to  make  of  it.  Get 
your  hearts  duly  affected  with  divine  things,  and 
abide  and  act  under  the  power  and  influence  of 
them ;  and  then  you  will  remember  them.  Be  often 
repeating  them  to  yourselves  :  the  Virgin  Mary 
kept  the  sayings  of  Christ,  by  p<mdering  them  m  ker 
heart.^ 

2.  You  must  hold  it  fast  in  faith.  It  is  not  enough 
to  remember  the  good  truths  that  are  taught  you ; 
but  you  must  mix  them  with  faith,^  or  they  will  not 
profit  you.  You  let  them  go,  though  you  remember 
them  ever  so  well,  if  you  let  go  the  belief  of  them, 
and  the  profession  of  your  faith  concerning  them :  it 
is  by  a  hand  of  faith  that  you  tahe  hold  of  them,  and 
heep  hold. 

You  must  hold  them  fast  in  faith,  that  is, 

(L)  You  must  give  a  firm  assent  to  them  as  faith- 
ful sayings ;  must  set  to  your  seal  that  God  is  tnie. 
And  every  word  of  his  is  so,  even  that  which  you 
cannot  comprehend  the  mystery  ef,  as  the  eternity  of 
God,  the  immensity  of  all  his  perfections,  the  Trinity, 
the  incarnation  of  the  Son  of  God,  the  operations  of 
the  Spirit  upon  the  soul  of  man,  and  the  like ;  yet 
because  they  are  things  which  God  has  revealed,  you 
must  subscribe  to  the  truth  of:  if  you  do  not  you 
make  God  a  liar ;  and  do  in  effect  make  yourselves 
wiser  than  God,  when  you  say.  Haw  can  this  be  * 
Whereas  you  should  say,  Lord,  I  believe,  help  thou 
mine  unbelief. 

(2.)  Yon  must  grow  up  to  a  full  assurance  of  the 


k  Luke  it.  19. 


t  Heb.  iv.  2. 


CATECHISING  OF  YOUTH. 


835 


andeniable  tnith,  and  incontestable  evidence,  of 
these  wand  words.  Pass  on  toward  perfection ; 
acqaaint  yonrseWes  with  the  Confirming  Cateehum ; 
know  not  only  what  it  is  we  believe,  bat  why  wc  be- 
lieve it ;  and  be  ready  always  to  give  a  reason  of  the 
hope  that  is  in  yoa."  Solomon  had  this  view  in  in- 
9trocting  his  son  ;  'not  I  miffht  make  thee  know  the 
certamiy  of  the  words  of  truth ;"  that  thou  mayst  be 
convinced  that  they  are  words  of  truth,  and  receive 
them  accordingly.  And  Lake  the  evangelist  had 
the  same  design  in  writing  his  gospel,  and  inscribing 
it  to  his  friend  Tbeophilas,  who,  probably,  had  been 
his  popil ;  Tlkat  thou  mightest  know  the  certainty  of 
those  thinys  wherein  thou  hast  been  instructed;^  this 
is  holding  it  fast  in  faith. 

(3.)  You  must  make  a  faithful  application  of  these 
soand  and  healing  words  to  yourselves ;  else  they 
will  not  answer  the  end,  or  be  healing  to  you,  any 
more  than  food  not  eaten,  physic  not  taken,  or  a 
plaster  not  applied.  Of  the  word  of  Christ  you 
most  say,  not  only,  "  This  is  true,"  but,  "  This  is 
true  concerning  me :"  He  loved  me,  and  gave  himself 
for  me ;  to  save  mc,  not  in  my  sins,  hut  from  them ; 
and  to  purify  me  to  himself,  and  make  me  zealous  of 
^ood  works.  Hear  it,  and  know  it,  for  thy  good,? 
says  Eliphaz  to  Job, /or  thyself,  so  it  is  in  the  mar- 
gin. Then  only  we  know  it  for  our  good,  when  wc 
know  it  for  ourselves, 

3.  You  must  hold  it  fast  in  love ;  that  is  the  other 
arm  with  which  these  forms  of  sound  words  must  be 
embraced,  and  held,  that  we  may  not  let  them  go. 

(1.)  You  most  take  delight  in  them,  and  in  the 
knowledge  of  them :  that  which  we  love  we  will 
hold  fast,  and  not  easily  part  with.  It  is  not  enough 
for  as  to  know  the  truth,  but  we  must  love  it ;  not 
enoogh  that  we  receive  it  as  a  faithful  saying,  but 
also  as  well  worthy  of  all  acceptation  ;  we  must  not 
only  give  it  credit  as  true  news,  but  bid  it  welcome 
as  good  news*  and  rejoice  in  it ;  and  when  Christ 
says,  Surely f  I  come  quickly,  we  must  not  only  say, 
**Ee€n  so,  so  IT  IS,  he  will  come/'  but  Amen^  so  BE 
IT ;  COME,  Lord  Jesus."*  This  wisdom,  this  know- 
ledge, must  so  enter  into  thy  heart,  as  to  become 
pleasant  to  thy  soul.'  They  say  it  was  a  ceremony 
used  of  old  by  the  Jews,  when  they  sent  their  children 
to  school,  they  gave  them  a  piece  of  a  honeycomb 
to  eat,  repeating  those  words  of  Solomon,  My  son, 
fit  tkou  honey  because  it  is  good,  and  the  honeycomb, 
rkieh  is  sweet  to  thy  taste  ;  so  shall  the  knowledge  of 
risdom  be  unto  thy  soul,  when  thou  hast  found  it* 
And  that  which  is  not  thus  delighted  in,  will  not  be 
long  held  fast. 

(2.)  Yon  mast  be  affected  with  them,  and  lay  them 
to  heart,  as  things  that  concern  you  to  the  last  de- 
gree. Love  is  the  leading  affection,  and  rules  the 
rest ;  as  that  goes,  all  the  rest  move.    Be  affected 


I  Pet  iiL  I&. 

y  Job  V.  S7. 


B  Prov.  xxii.  SI.  o  Luke  i.  4. 

q  Rev.  xxii.  20. 
3  B  2 


with  love  to  the  good  word  of  God ;  and  then  you 
will  conceive  a  high  value  and  veneration  for  Christ, 
and  a  rooted  antipathy  to  sin ;  a  holy  contempt  of 
the  world,  a  deep  concern  for  your  own  souls,  and  a 
care  about  your  everlasting  state;  and  all  other 
good  affections,  that  will  be  the  principles  of  a  steady 
and  regular  motion  of  the  soul  heaven-wards.  And 
then  you  will  hold  fast  this  form  of  sound  words, 
when  it  makes  such  impressions  as  those  upon  you^ 
and  (as  Christ's  sayings  ought  to  do)  sinks  down 
into  your  hearts,'  and  impresses  a  weight  and  stamp 
upon  them. 

3.  You  must  be  influenced  by  them,  and  act 
under  the  commanding  power  of  them.  That  love  in 
which  the  sound  words  must  be  held  fast,  is  here 
put  for  all  that  evangelical  obedience  which  holy  love 
is  the  principle  of;  for,  as  faith  works  by  love,  so 
love  works  by  keeping  the  commandments  of  God  ;" 
for  TAu  t>  the  love  of  God,  that  we  keep  his  command- 
ments, and  his  commandments  are  not  grievous.  We 
then  hold  fast  the  sayings  of  Christ,  when  we  hold 
to  them,  in  the  constant  temper  of  our  minds,  and 
tenor  of  our  lives,  and  govern  ourselves  by  them  in 
all  we  say  or  do,  that  we  may  thus  adorn  the  doc- 
trine of  God  our  Saviour. 

4.  There  is  one  word  more  in  the  text  to  be  touched 
upon,  and  it  is  the  centre  and  crown  of  all :  This 
faith  and  love  must  be  in  Christ  Jpsus.  Blessed 
Paul,  full  of  blessed  Jesus,  breathes  nothing  so 
much  as  Christ ;  he  is  his  Alpha  and  Omega,  and 
must  be  ours ;  it  is  the  token  in  every  epistle.  We 
must  hold  fast  the  sound  words  of  the  gospel,  in  that 
faith  and  love  which  has  Christ  for  its  author,  its  ob- 
ject, and  its  end. 

(1.)  Which  has  Christ  for  its  author;  that  faith 
and  love  which  is  wrought  in  us,  not  by  the  strength 
of  any  natural  reasonings  or  resolutions  of  our  own, 
but  by  the  Spirit  and  grace  of  Christ,  darting  rays 
of  divine  light  into  the  understanding,  and  striking 
sparks  of  divine  lire  into  the  affections,  for  these  are 
not  of  ourselves,  they  are  the  gift  of  God.  Thou  there- 
fore, my  son,  be  strong  in  the  grace  that  is  in  Christ 
Jesus  ;*  for  on  him  is  our  help  laid,  and  in  him  only 
is  our  help  found.  Depend  not  upon  any  ability  of 
your  own,  lean  not  to  your  own  understanding, 
but  go  forth  and  go  on,  take  hold  and  keep  hold,  in 
Christ's  strength. 

(2.)  Which  has  Christ  for  its  object ;  that  faith 
and  love  in  which  the  truths  of  the  gospel  must  be 
held  fast,  as  it  must  flow  from  Christ,  so  it  must 
fasten  on  him.  It  is  Christ  in  the  gospel  that  we 
must  embrace,  and  hold  fast ;  who  is  the  true  treasure 
hid  in  that  field,  which  we  must  think  it  worth 
while  to  part  with  all  we  have  for  the  purchase  of. 
It  is  by  faith  in  Christ,  and  love  to  Christ,  that  we 
must  hold  fast  what  we  have  received.    For  this 


r  Prov.  ii.  10. 
tt  1  John  ▼.  a 


•  Prov.  xxiv.  13, 14. 


t  Luke  ix.  44. 
▼  2Tim.  ij.  1. 


836 


A  SERMON  CONCERNING  THE 


reason  wc  must  embrace  these  sound  words,  be- 
cause we  find  so  much  of  Christ  in  them.  He  is 
tliat  golden  thread  that  runs  through  the  web  of  the 
whole  gospel.  St.  Austin  somewhere  says  of  him- 
self, that  before  his  conversion  he  took  great  delight 
in  reading  the  writings  of  Tully,  the  Roman  orator, 
but  now  (says  he)  I  cannot  relish  them  at  all,  as 
I  used  to  do,  because  I  find  nothing  of  Christ  in 

them. 

(3. )  Which  has  Christ  for  its  end  It  mu.st  be  that 
faith  and  love  which  has  an  eye  to  Christ ;  which  has 
.this  always  in  view,  to  glorify  Christ,  and  to  be  glo- 
rifiedwith  Christ:  that/at'M  which  presses  toward  its 
own  perfection,  in  the  immediate  sight  of  Christ ; 
and  that  love  which  presses  toward  its  own  perfec- 
tion, in  the  everlasting  enjoyment  of  him. 

Application. 

Let  me  now  close  with  a  few  words  of  exhorta- 
tion, in  reference  to  the  form  of  sound  words. 

1.  Let  us  bless  God,  tliat  our  lot  is  cast  in  a  land 
of  light ;  that  he  who  determines  the  times  before 
appointed,  and  the  bounds  of  men's  habitations,  has 
determined  ours  so  well,  and  so  much  to  our  advan- 
tage ;  that  those  statutes  and  judgments,  which  the 
heathen  have  not  known,  are  revealed  to  us.  We 
can  never  be  f  nough  thankful  to  God  for  this  dis- 
tinguishing favour,  his  manifesting  himself  to  us, 
so  as  not  unto  the  world.  Blessed  are  our  eyes,  for 
they  see  the  joyful  light,  and  our  ears,  for  they  hear 
the  joyful  sound,  which  many  prophets  and  kings 
desired  to  see,  desired  to  hear,  and  might  not.* 
We  can  never  be  enough  thankful  to  God  for  it, 
that  living  in  a  Christian  nation  we  have  Bibles ;  in 
a  protestaut  nation,  we  have  them  in  a  language  we 
understand ;  that  to  us  are  committed  the  oracles  of 
God,'  the  lively  oracles, yiih  more  advantage  than  to 
the  Jews  of  old ;  that  with  us  are  the  priests,  the 
Lord's  ministers,  sounding  with  his  trumpets.'  So 
many  and  so  great  are  our  privileges,  above  most 
other  nations,  that  it  may  justly  be  expected,  I  wish 
it  could  be  as  justly  said,  Surely  this  great  nation  is 
a  wise  and  understanding  people* 

2.  Let  us  particularly  be  thankful  to  God,  for  the 
forms  of  sound  words,  both  ancient  and  modem, 
which  we  have  among  us ;  for  our  catechisms  and 
confessions  of  faith  ;  that  we  have  plenty  of  them, 
and  variety  of  them,  not  clashing  and  contradicting 
each  other,  but  rather  confirming  and  illustrating 
each  other ;  for  to  Christ  they  all  with  one  consent 
bear  witness,  and  to  the  law  and  to  the  testimony 
they  all  appeal :  though  the  methods  be  different, 
they  meet  in  the  same  centre ;  and  tend  to  direct 
those  of  diiferent  tastes  and  capacities  to  it  likewise. 

3.  Let  parents  and  governors  of  families  make 


conscience  of  instructing  their  children,  and  ser- 
vants, in  the  forms  of  sound  words.  Here  this  work 
must  begin,  for  it  must  begin  betimes  ;  Whom  shall 
he  teach  knowledge  ?  Whom  shall  ^e  make  to  under- 
stand doctrine  ?  The  prophet  there  answers.  Them  that 
are  weaned  from  the  milk,  and  drawn  from  the  breasts:^ 
when  they  are  very  young,  under  the  immediate  care 
of  their  mothers  or  grandmotliers,  as  Timothy  was  : 
they  arc  the  teachers  of  babes.**  When  Solomoa 
was  tender,  and  only-beloved  in  the  sight  of  his 
mother,^  she  taught  him.^  The  history  of  the  Scrip- 
ture is  most  proper  to  acquaint  your  children  with 
in  the  first  place ;  we  see  how  soon  they  apprehend, 
and  are  affected,  with  other  stories,  and  why  may 
not  impressions  be  made  upon  them  as  soon  by  the 
Scripture  stories.  Pleasant  and  profitable  instruc- 
tions may  also  be  g^ven  to  children  by  the  psalms 
for  singing,  and  by  divine  poems  and  verses  suited 
to  their  capacity. 

It  will  be  of  great  use  likewise  to  your  children, 
to  be  told  betimes,  what  it  is  supposed  natural  for 
them  to^ask,  What  we  mean  by  this  and  the  other  re- 
ligious sei'vice,*    Tell  them  why  you  read  the  Bible 
with  so  much  veneration :  because  it  is  the  book  of 
God,  and  holy  men  wrote  the  several  parts  of  it,  as 
they  were  moved  by  the  Holy  Ghost.    Tell  them 
why  you  make  conscience  of  praying  to  God  so 
solemnly  every  day :  because  you  have  a  necessary 
and  constant  dependence  upon  God,  and  npon  his 
providence  and  grace,  that  you  are  daily  receiving 
mercy  from  him,  and  daily  need  his  favour.    Tell 
them  why  you  observe  the  Lord's  day,  and  make 
such  a  difference  between  that  and  other  days ;  that 
it  is  in  remembrance  of  the  creation  of  the  world, 
the  resurrection  of  Christ,  and  the  pouring  out  cf 
the  Spirit.    Especially  tell  them  of  their  baptism  ; 
take  all  opportunities  to  let  them  see  children  bap- 
tized, (in  order  to  which  it  is  very  gpod  to  have  it 
done  publicly,)  and  tell  them,  thus  they  were  bap- 
tized in  their  infancy,  and  by  that  solemnity  dedi- 
cated and  devoted  to  God  the  Father,  Son,  and  Holy 
Ghost ;  and  what  was  done  for  them  then,  they  mast 
now  do  for  themselves.    Tell  them  of  the  corruption 
of  their  nature,  which  needed  cleansing ;  and  of  the 
grace  of  God  in  Christ,  in  which  there  is  a  cleans- 
ing virtue. 

Set  them  to  learn  their  catechism  ;  let  them  com- 
mit some  portions  of  Scripture  to  memory,  as  you 
find  they  are  able  to  do  it ;  and  examine  them,  what 
they  can  remember  of  the  sermons  they  hear.  You 
will  meet  with  some  difficulty  herein  from  the  cor- 
ruption of  their  nature,  which  you  must  endeavour 
to  get  over  as  much  as  may  be  by  a  gentle  hand ; 
give  them  instruction  with  all  possible  freedom  and 
familiarity,  with  compassion  and  condescension  to 
their  capacity.     Those  teach  these  things  most  dlli- 


Matt.  xiii.  le.  17. 
I  Deut.  iv.  0. 


i  Rom.  iii.  3.       7  2  Chron.  xUi.  18. 
•  Isa.  xxviii.  9. 


b  Rom.  li.  90. 
d  Prov.  xxxX.  1. 


e  Prov.  W.  3. 
•  Ezod.  xli.  &S. 


CATECHISING  OF  YOUTH. 


837 


gently  to  their  children,  not  who  are  the  most  dicta- 
toiial  in  doing  it,  and  make  the  fpvatest  noise,  hot 
who  talk  of  them/refif«fi//jf ;  when  they  sit  in  the 
boose,  and  walk  by  the  way,  when  they  lie  down, 
and  when  they  rise  op,'  frequently  dropping  good 
instrnctions  among  their  children :  and  if  bat  one 
in  ten  insensibly  slip  into  their  minds,  and  fasten 
there,  what  good  proficients  may  we  hope  they  will 
be  in  time.  Contrive  how  to  make  this  work,  as 
much  as  may  be,  a  pleasare  and  delight  to  yonr 
children  and  servants,  and  not  a  task,  or  a  terror,  or 
a  drudgery.  Teach  them  as  Christ  teaches,  who  is 
meek  and  lowly  in  heart 

4.  Let  the  ministers  of  Christ  look  upon  them- 
selves as  under  a  charge  to  feed  the  lambs  of  Christ's 
flock.  All  the  reformed  churches  make  this  a  part 
of  their  work  ;  to  be  done  either  pnbliclyor  private- 
ly ;  either  in  their  solemn  religious  assemblies,  or  in 
meetings  on  purpose  for  this  work ;  or  in  visiting 
their  families,  either  by  themselves,  or,  as  in  some 
churches  abroad ,  by  some  other  proper  persons  qua- 
lified for,  and  deputed  to,  this  service  particularly. 
Private  catechising  has  the  advantage  of  a  more 
particular  application  to  the  persons  catechised: 
public  catechising  has  the  advantage  of  a  more 
general  edification ;  and  therefore  both  should  be 
used  in  their  season,  or  |hat  which,  all  circum- 
stances considered,  may  turn  to  the  best  account 

0  that  we  who  are  ministers,  were  filled  with  a 
zeal  for  the  spiritual  welfare  and  eternal  salvation 
of  young  people,  and  a  concern  for  the  rising  gene- 
ration ;  and  were  to  do  our  utmost  as  our  ability  and 
opportunity  is,  to  fill  the  minds  of  young  ones,  in 
their  early  days,  with  the  knowledge  of  Christ,  and 
to  fix  them  for  Christ,  that  the  next  generation  may 
be  better  than  this.  And  O  that  those  who  are 
employed  in  public  catechising,  may  see  of  the  tra- 
Tail  of  their  souls  to  their  satisfaction,  and  not  labour 
in  vain ! 

&  Let  us  look  with  pity  upon  the  great  numbers 
of  children,  even  in  our  own  land,  who  are  not  taught 
these  forms  of  sound  words,  but  are  bred  up  In  ig- 
norance and  profaneness ;  strangers  and  enemies  to 
Christ  and  true  Christianity.  They  are  poor,  they  are 
fooUth,  they  know  not  the  way  of  the  Lord,  nor  the 
judyment  of  their  God,t  They  sit  in  darkness  in  a 
land  of  light,  and  walk  on  in  darkness,  and  if  in- 
finite mercy  do  not  interpose  to  prevent,  they  are 
hastening  into  utter  darkness.  If  you  can  do  any 
thing,  sirs,  have  compassion  upon  them  and  help 
them ;  pick  up  some  of  those  neglected,  abandoned 
young  ones,  you  who  have  ability,  and  rescue  them 
from  ruin,  by  putting  them  into  a  way  of  receiving 
instructioB.  We  have  charity  schools  set  up  in  the 
city  and  country  ;  which,  if  managed  by  the  rules 
of  catholic  Christianity,  have  a  direct  tendency  to 

f  Dent  vL  7.      r  Jer.  v.  C      k  i  Gor.  IIL  IS.     i  Horn.  ziv.  17. 


the  bettering  of  the  world,  and  the  reforming  of  the 
next  age,  if  the  reforming  of  this  should  be  despaired 
of.  What  is  given  to  the  support  and  encourage- 
ment of  them,  is  charity,  both  to  soul  and  body,  and 
will  be  fruit  abounding  to  your  account. 

6.  Let  those  who  have  heard  and  learned  the  forms 
of  sound  words  long  ago,  retain  them  still,  and  im- 
prove more  and  more.  I  have  reason  to  think  I 
speak  to  many  who  were  blessed  with  a  good  educa- 
tion, were  trained  up  in  the  way  wherein  they  should 
go:  I  beseech*  yon  examine  yourselves,  not  only 
whether  you  have  not  departed  from  it,  I  hope  you 
have  not  quite  deserted  it,  but  what  progress  have 
you  made  in  it  ?  What  have  you  built  upon  that 
foundation  ?  Has  it  been  wood,  hay,  and  stubble ;'' 
airy  notions,  nice  speculations,  perverse  disputings, 
and  strifes  of  words  ?  or  has  it  been  gold,  silver,  and 
precious  stones ;  advances  in  serious  godliness,  in 
holiness,  and  heavenly  mindedness,  and  the  power 
of  that  kingdom  of  God,  which  is  not  meat  or  drink, 
but  righteousness,  and  peace,  and  joy  in  the  Holy 
Ghost  .^  Go  on  and  prosper,  for  the  Lord  is  with  you. 
But  if  you  have  in  any  degree  let  go  that  good  thing 
which  was  committed  to  your  trust,  I  beseech  you 
bethink  jrourselves  whence  you  have  fallen,  and  re- 
member again  what  you  have  received  and  heard, 
and  hold  fast,  and  repent.  Be  watchful,  and  strengthen 
the  things  which  remain,  that  are  ready  to  die»^ 

7.  I  must  not  part  without  a  word  to  you,  whose 
request  brought  me  to  this  service  here  to-day,  you  * 
who  are  catechised  in  the  principles  of  religion, 
that  you  may  grow  yet  more  and  more  in  the  know- 
ledge of  Christ  and  Christianity. 

(1.)  Carefully  attend  to  the  instructions  that  are 
given  you;  and  treasure  them  up,  vrith  sincerity, 
and  all  the  marks  of  reverence  and  seriousness. 
Give  attendance  on,  and  attention  to,  what  is  taught 
you,  and  set  your  heart  to  it.  You  must  take  pains, 
else  you  cannot  expect  to  reap  advantage ;  for  it  is 
in  labour  that  there  is  profit  Be  careful  to  mark 
what  is  said,  not  critical  to  make  remarks  upon  it ; 
and  give  account  of  it  with  afiection,  but  without 
affectation ;  and  attend  here  not  for  ostentation,  be- 
cause you  think  yourselves  better  than  others,  but 
for  your  edification,  because  you  would  be  better 
than  you  are. 

(2.)  Pray  over  what  is  taught  you,  and  beg  of  God 
to  bless  it  to  you.  Man  can  but  teach  the  outward 
ear,  it  is  God  only  that  can  bring  it  to  the  heart,  and 
in  that  respect  none  teach  like  him.  It  is  he  who 
teaches  with  a  strong  hand,^  and  then  the  teaching 
is  eflfectual ;  who  seals  the  instruction,"*  and  then  it 
is  abiding ;  who  gives  the  understanding,  and  opens 
the  heart.  Look  up  to  him  therefore  by  faithful  and 
fervent  prayer,  for  that  grace  of  his  which  is  neces- 
sary to  your  profiting  by  the  means  of  grace.    You 


k  Rev.  la  3,  a 


I  IfluvULII. 


Job  xxxiii.  le. 


838 


A  S£RMON,  &c. 


crave  his  blessing  upon  the  food  for  yoar  body,  that 
it  may  be  noarishing  to  yoa ;  and  can  yon  expect 
your  spiritual  food  should  nourish  yon  without  that 
blessing,  or  that  you  should  have  that  blessing,  if 
you  do  not  pray  for  it?  That  good  thing  which  is  by 
the  word  committed  to  you  to  keep  for  God,  do  you 
by  prayer  commit  to  God  to  keep  for  you,  and  bring 
it  to  your  minds  when  yon  should  use  it 

(3.)  Live  as  those  who  by  attendance  on  such  an 
exercise  as  this,  make  a  profession  of  religion  above 
many  others.  Hereby  you  seem  to  be  more  solicitous 
about  your  souls,  and  more  inquisitive  concerning 
the  way  to  heaven,  than  your  neighbours ;  but  what 
will  it  avail  you  that  you  seem  to  be  so,  unless  yon 
be  really  so  ?  The  tree  will  be  known  by  its  fruits. 
Evidence  that  you  receive  not  so  much  instruction 
in  vain,  by  the  exemplary  purity  and  piety,  serious- 
ness and  strictness,  of  your  whole  conversation.    By 


your  justioe  and  charity,  and  unshaken  veracity 
and  fidelity;  your  sobriety  and  temperance;  your 
humility  and  meekness ;  your  conscientious  obedi- 
ence to  your  parents  and  masters,  and  a  steady 
course  of  godliness  and  honesty ;  you  ought  to  adorn 
the  doctrine  of  God  our  Saviour.     I  remember 
Epictetus^pressing  his  pupil  to  show  by  his  prac- 
tice of  virtue,  his  profiting  by  the  instructions  given 
him— illustrates  it  by  this  similitude :  **  The  sheep,'' 
says  he,  **  do  not  come  to  their  shepherd,  and  show 
him  how  much  meat  they  have  eaten,  but  they  make 
it  to  appear  by  their  growing  fatter  and  fitter  for 
use."    Thus,  therefore,  do  you  make  it  appear,  that 
you  improve  in  Christian  knowledge,  fty  the  agree- 
iihlenese  and  evenness  of  yonr  Christian  practice^  and 
your  perseverance  in  it  to  the  end,  that  you  and  we 
may  rejoice,  in  the  day  of  the  Lord,  that  we  have 
not  run  in  vain,  nor  laboured  in  vain. 


A  MEMORIAL  OF  THE  FIRE  OF  THE  LORD : 


IN 


A  SERMON, 


PREACHED  SEPTEMBER  2nd,  1713,  BEING  THE  DAY  OF  THE  COMMEMORATION 

OF  THE  BURNING  OF  LONDON,  IN  1666. 

AT  MR.  REYNOLDS'S  MEETING-HOUSE,  NEAR  THE  MONUMENT. 


Numbers  xi.  3. 

And  he  called  the  name  of  the  pUtee  Taberah,  becauee 
the  fire  of  the  Lord  burnt  among  them. 

We  haye  here  an  account  of  the  pnideot  and  pions 
care  which  Moses  took,  to  preserve  the  memorial  of  a 
fire  which  happened  in  the  camp  of  Israel,  by  giving 
a  new  name  of  suitable  signification  to  the  place 
where  it  happened ;  which  being  left  upon  record 
here,  in  the  book  of  God,  is  a  monument  of  the  fire, 
further  visible  and  more  durable  than  this  pillar  of 
stone,  the  monument  hard  by,  and  will  outlast  even 
the  pillar  of  salt ;  for  wherever,  in  any  age,  the 
books  of  Moses  are  read,  and  they  shall  be  read  in 
every  age  to  the  end  of  time,  there  shall  this  be  told 
for  a  memorial ;  that  the  fire  of  the  Lord  burnt  among 
the  Israelites,  and  in  remembrance  of  it,  Moses 
called  the  pla<^  Taberah, 

And  thus  it  suits  the  occasion  of  our  meeting  here 
to-day,  in  communion  with  many  religious  assem- 
blies in  this  city,  to  put  ourselves  and  one  another 
in  mind  of  that  fire  of  the  Lord,  which,  in  the  me- 
mory of  many  of  you,  burnt  among  you  to  that  de- 
gree, as  to  make  of  this  city  a  heap,  this  flourishing 
city  a  ruin  ;  a  judgment  which  it  was  then  thought 
fit,  by  the  annual  observation  of  this  day,  to  trans- 
mit the  remembrance  of  to  posterity. 

Now  observe  in  the  text, 

1.  What  the  judgment  of  God  upon  the  camp  of 
Israel  was.  The  fire  of  the  Lord  burnt  among  them. 
It  is  called  the  fire  of  the  Lord,  because  it  fell  from 
heaven,  it  came  immediately  from  the  hand  of  God  : 
as  that  fire  did,  which  sometimes  consumed  the  sa- 


•  I  Sam.  ill.  14. 


b  Lev.  X.  1, 2. 


0  Job  i.  16. 


orifices,  in  token  of  God's  acceptance  of  them,  when 
justly  it  might  have  consumed  the  sinners,  and  taken 
vengeance  on  them.  Here  it  did  consume  the  sin- 
ners, to  signify,  that  their  iniquity  was  such,  as 
should  not  be  purged  with  sacrifice  or  ofiering  for 
ever ;»  as  another  time  it  consumed  the  sacrificers, 
when  they  oflfered  strange  fires.b 

Lightning  is  the  fire  of  the  Lord,  as  thunder  is  the 
voice  of  the  Lord.  With  that  fire  Job's  sheep,  and  the 
servants  that  attended  them,  were  burnt  up.^  It  is 
heaven's  fire-arms,  with  which  sometimes  dreadful 
execution  has  been  done.  **  Fire  and  water,  ''we 
say,  "  are  good  servants,  but  bad  masters :"  the  old 
world  was  mastered  and  destroyed  by  water,  and 
this  is  reserved  unto  fire.**  God  has  treasures  of  both 
in  his  magazines,  which  he  has  laid  up  against  the 
time  of  trouble,  the  dag  of  battle  and  war.* 

This  fire  of  the  Lord  burnt  among  them,  among 
that  people  whom  God  peculiarly  favoured,  when 
by  sin  they  displeased  him,  and  his  anger  was  kin- 
dled against  them.'  Though  the  pillar  of  cloud  and 
fire  was  over  them  to  protect  them,  while  they  kept 
themselves  in  the  love  of  God,  that  should  be  no 
security  to  them,  when  they  rebelled  against  him. 
It  burnt  the  bodies  of  many  of  them  to  death,  they 
were  killed  with  lightning ;  or,  perhaps,  it  burnt  their 
tents  and  goods ;  It  consumed,  (so  the  original  is, 
r.  I.)  in  the  uttermost  parts  of  the  camp,  not  saying 
whether  persons  or  dwellings.  Our  translation  de- 
termines it  to  persons,  them  that  dwell  there ;  but 
the  quenching  of  the  fire,  (v.  2.)  seems  rather  to  in* 
timate  that  it  was  the  tents  that  were  burnt.  It 
kindled  in  the  utmost  parts  of  the  camp,  where  the 
inferior  sort  were,  the  mixt  multitude,  who  were 


d  2  Pet.  iii.  6, 7.         •  Job  xxxvuL  33. 


f  Numb.  xi.  1. 


840 


COMMEMORATION  OF  THE 


generally  the  riDgleaders  in  every  mntiny ;  the  jadg- 
ment  began  where  the  sin  began.  Or,  it  intimates 
that  God  came  npon  them  by  degrees,  seizing  those 
first  who  were  of  lower  rank,  that  others  might  take 
warning.  Or,  this  fire  began  in  the  utmost  parts  of 
the  camp,  as  if  it  would  take  all  before  it 

Now  this,  among  other  things,  happened  to  them 
for  example,'  and  was  intended  to  be  a  warning  to 
us,  that  we  sin  not  after  the  similitude  of  their  trans- 
gression. The  people  complained ;  that  was  it  that 
provoked  God  to  kindle  this  fire  among  them.  Let 
those  who  are  of  a  fretful,  discontented  spirit,  who 
are  always  complaining  of  their  lot,  complaining  of 
every  event,  quarrelling  vrith  God  and  his  provi- 
dence, diminishing  every  mercy,  and  doubling  every 
cross,  see  in  this  instance,  what  an  exceeding  sinful 
sin  this  is,  and  how  provoking  to  God.  Those  who 
ate  always  complaining  for  trifles,  must  expect  to 
have  something  given  them  to  complain  of.  As  on 
the  one  hand  nothing  is  more  acceptable  to  God, 
than  our  humble  acceptance  of  all  he  says>ind  does. 
CQuii  Deo  plaeuit  ?  Cui  Deus  plaeuerit —  Who  pleases 
God  I  The  man  whom  God  pleases,  Aug.)  so  on  the 
other  hand,  nothing  is  more  displeasing  to  God, 
than  our  being  displeased  at  his  disposals. 

2.  The  memorial  of  this  judgment,  to  transmit  a 
traditional  knowledge  of  it  to  posterity,  Moses  called 
that  place,  Taherah,  Ineendium^  Combustio — a  Bum" 
inffn  The  Seventy  translate  the  Hebrew  name  E/i- 
nvpiofioQ,  Moses  knew  too  well  how  apt  the  people 
were,  soon  to  forget  the  works  of  God,  both  his  mer- 
cies and  his  judgments,  and  therefore  was  very  in- 
dustrious to  fix  in  their  minds  the  remembrance  of 
them;  and  contrived  means  to  revive  the  remem- 
brance of  them,  when  it  should  begin  to  dwindle  and 
die.  This  fire  of  the  Lord,  though  it  burned  but  in 
the  uttermost  part  of  the  camp,  and  was  soon  quench- 
ed, yet  must  not  be  forgotten ;  he  therefore  calls  the 
place  Ta6eraA— Here  the  burning  was.  And  if  pos- 
terity ask.  What  burning?  It  will  be  answered,  the 
burning  of  a  part  of  the  camp  of  the  Israelites,  with 
the  fire  of  the  Lord,  for  their  discontent  and  mur- 
muring. And  we  find  Moses  himself,  near  forty 
years  after,  putting  the  next  generation  in  mind  of 
this  very  thing,  purely  by  the  mention  of  this  name, 
as  he  did  of  other  the  like  sins  and  judgments, 
by  the  names  he  had  given  to  other  places  for  the 
same  purpose :  And  at  Taherah,  and  at  Massah, 
and  at  Kihroth-Hattaavahy  ye  provoked  the  Lord  to 
wrath." 

But  by  recording  those  things  in  his  sacred  writ- 
ings, he  has  more  effectually  preserved  the  memorial 
of  them,  and  transmitted  it  even  to  us,  whose  lot  is 
cast  in  the  ends  of  the  earth,  and  upon  whom  the 
ends  of  the  world  are  come.*  And  this  is  one  of 
those  passages  of  story,  which  the  Psalmist  would 


r  1  Cor.  X.  6. 
k  Pi.  Izxvlii.  6, 21. 


h  Deut.  iz.  2S. 
1  Jer.  vii.  12. 


i  1  Cor.  X.  11. 
n  Bccl.  vii.  13. 


have  the  fathers  to  make  known  to  their  children, 
that  they  may  tell  them  to  theirs ;  That  God  heard 
their  murmuring^  and  was  wroth,  so  a  fire  was  kin- 
dled against  Jacob}- 

So  that  hence  we  may  gather  this  lesson : 

That  a  lasting  memorial  ought  to  he  kept  of  the  fire 
of  the  Lord,  when  it  has  at  any  time  burned  among 
a  people. 

As  the  mercies  of  God  ought  to  have  their  memo- 
rials,  and  used  to  have  in  the  church  of  God  names 
of  remembrance,  stones  of  remembrance,  songs  of 
remembrance,  days  of  remembrance,  of  which  it 
were  easy  to  give  numerous  instances  in  Scripture  ; 
so  the  judgments  of  God  too  should  be  remembered, 
for  they  are  improvable  as  well  as  his  mercies,  im- 
provable not  only  by  the  sufferers  themselTes,  and 
by  their  neighbours  at  the  same  time,  but  by  their 
successors  afterwards,  as  Shiloh's  ruins  were  Jeru- 
salem's instructions,'  many  ages  afterwards.  Care 
must  therefore  be  taken,  not  only  to  preserve  the 
remembrance  of  them  in  our  own  bosoms,  but  to 
transmit  it  to  the  generations  to  come,  for  their 
benefit. 

For  it  is  not  enough  to  remember  these  works  of 
God,  but  we  must  consider  them,'"  must  wisely  con- 
sider °  them,  so  as  to  understand  them,  and  make  a 
good  use  of  our  remembrance  of  them.  As  we  must 
remember  God's  commandments  to  do  them,**  else 
we  remember  them  to  no  purpose ;  so  we  must  re- 
member God's  providences,  not  merely  as  matter  of 
discourse  among  ourselves,  or  information  to  our 
children,  but  with  suitable  affections  working  in  oar 
spirits,  and  suitable  impressions  made  upon  thera. 
Lo,  this,  we  have  searched  it,  (says  Eliphas,)  so  it  is, 
hear  it,  and  know  thou  it  for  thy  good,^ 

(1.)  We  must  often  call  to  mind  the  personal 
and  private  rebukes  of  Providence,  which  we  our- 
selves and  our  families  have  been  under.  The  his- 
tory of  a  man*s  own  life  is  as  useful  a  piece  of  his- 
tory as  any  he  can  study ;  and  here  a  man  must  be 
his  own  historian,  and  his  own  reader ;  and  therefore 
under  both  characters  it  is  to  be  hoped  he  will  be 
careful,  and  faithful  to  himself.  God's  counsel  to 
Israel  is  good  counsel  to  every  Israelite,  Thou  shah 
remember  all  the  way  in  which  the  Lord  thy  God 
has  led  thee  in  this  wilderness,  how  he  humbled  thee, 
and  suffered  thee  to  hunger,  and  chastened  thecy  as  a 
man  chasteneth  his  son.** 

We  should  remember  what  God  has  spoken  to  us, 
not  only  by  his  word,  giving  earnest  heed,  lest  at 
any  time  we  let  it  slip,^  but  by  his  rod,  for  that  also 
has  a  voice,  an  articulate,  intelligible  voice,  and  is 
sent  to  us  on  an  errand,  and  waits  for  an  answer ; 
and  the  voice  of  both  we  should  now  both  hear  for 
the  time  to  come,  and  hear  from  the  time  past ;  and 
the  repeating  of  the  lessons  we  have  been  taught  by 


B  Ps.  Ixiv.  0.  e  pg.  ciii.  IS. 

q  Deut  vHi.  2,  3,  5. 


P  Job  V.  & 
T  Heb.  ii.  I. 


FIRE  OF  LONDON. 


841 


both,  is  confessedly  necessary  to  our  learning  of 
tbem  perfectiy. 

Apt  enongh  we  are  to  complain  of  our  former 
aiBictions,  too  apt  to  remember  them,  with  peevish 
reflections  upon  the  divine  Providence,  and  the  in- 
straments  of  it,  and  vain  boasting  of  what  hardships 
weha?e  gone  through.  But  we  should  remember 
tbem,  to  renew  our  repentance  for  the  sins  that  pro- 
cared  them,  our  thankfulness  for  the  mercy  that  sup- 
ported us  under  them,  oar  patient  submissions  to 
tbe  will  of  God  in  them,  our  improvements  in  know- 
ledge and  grace  by  them,  and  the  good  resolutions 
of  better  obedience  we  made  under  them ;  it  is  for 
tbis  end  that  we  are  to  preserve  memorials  of  our 
troobles :  as  the  lamenting  church  remembered  the 
afBiction  and  the  misery,  the  wormwood  and  the 
gall.  My  8<nd  (says  she)  huth  them  still  in  remem- 
kranee,  and  it  humbled  within  $ne,*  And  as  David 
penned  many  of  his  psalms,  to  keep  in  remembrance, 
and  to  bring  to  remembrance,  the  distresses  he  was 
io,  that  at  the  same  time  he  might  recollect,  for  his 
present  bene6t,  the  frame  of  his  spirit,  and  the  work- 
ings of  his  heart  under  them. 

Ton  have  all  found  your  days  upon  earth  to  be  full 
of  trooble,  though  not  all  alike  so ;  review  the  trou- 
bles of  your  life,  that  what  was  ill  done  by  you  in 
tbe  day  of  your  affliction,  may  be  undone  by  repent- 
ance ;  and  what  was  well  done,  may  be  done  again, 
may  be  better  done,  and  kept  always  in  the  imagi- 
nation of  the  thought  of  your  heart  Let  not  your 
ncknesses  and  pains  be  forgotten ;  Hezekiah  took 
care  that  his  should  not,  but  should  be  kept  in 
remembrance  by  his  vmting,  when  he  bad  been  sick 
and  was  recovered.*  Let  not  your  losses  in  your 
estate,  your  crosses  and  disappointments  in  your 
affairs,  be  forgotten;  Let  not  the  death  of  yonr  dear 
relations,  and  tbe  breaches  thereby  made  upon  your 
comforts,  be  forgotten.  Naomi  took  care  that  her 
complicated  griefs  of  both  those  kinds  should  not  be, 
when  she  changed  her  own  name,  Call  me  not  Naomi, 
etU  me  Mmra.^  David  took  care  that  his  should  not, 
when  he  penned  the  39th  Psalm  (it  should  seem) 
Qpon  occasion  of  the  death  of  some  friend  who  was 
dear  to  him,  and  left  upon  record  his  prayer  under 
tbe  affliction,  Lord^  mahe  me  to  know  my  end,  and  his 
promise,  1  wiH  tmke  heed  to  my  wayi.^ 

By  remembering  your  afflictions  in  this  good  man  • 
ser,  and  for  these  good  purposes,  you  may  not  only 
regain  the  benefit  you  formerly  got  by  them,  but  may 
gain  more ;  as  having  now  your  thoughts  more  cool 
and  sedate,  and  under  command,  than  they  were  in 
tbe  horry  of  the  affliction.  The  chastening  for  the 
present  is  grievous,  and  perhaps  we  are  under  it,  as 
Job  was,/ic//  ofean/usion  ;  but  it  is  afterwards,  when 
it  eomes  to  be  reflected  upon  and  reviewed,  that  it 


•  Lam.  IH.  19,  SO.  >  ba.  xzzviii.  9.         «  Rath  i.  90. 

▼  Ps.  xxxiz.  4.  •  w  Heb.  xif.  ll. 


yields  ihe  peaeeMe  fndt  of  riyhteouenes*;'  fruit  that 
remains. 

By  a  due  remembrance  of  former  convictions, 
if  we  received  them  aright,  like  the  tender  and 
tractable  child,  we  shall  be  kept  from  returning  to 
folly,  and  so  prevent  another  correction ;  and,  like 
the  burnt  child,  dread  the  fire. 

(2.)  We  must  often  call  to  mind  public  judgments, 
judgments  upon  the  communities  we  are  members 
of ;  upon  the  land  and  nation,  God's  controversies 
with  them ;  upon  the  city,  his  voice  that  has  cried 
to  it ;  for  as  in  the  peace  thereof  we  have  peace,  so 
in  the  trouble  thereof  we  have  trouble,  and  must  feel 
it.  Those  are  unworthy  the  honour  of  Zion's  sons, 
who  think  not  themselves  concerned  in  Zion's  sor- 
rows, her  past  as  well  as  present  sorrows. 

Though  God  by  subsequent  providences  In  favour 
of  a  returning  people,  may  have  superseded  the  fast 
of  the  fourth  month,  the  fast  oftheffihj  the  fast  of 
the  seventh,  the  fast  of  the  tenth,  so  as  to  turn  them 
into  joy  and  gladness,  and  cheerful  feasts  ;*  and  by 
the  abundance  of  our  comforts,  may  make  us  to 
foryet  our  miseries,  and  to  remember  them  as  waters 
that  pass  away ;'  to  forget  all  our  tail,*  as  Joseph 
did ;  yet  we  must  still  remember  to  make  a  pious 
improvement  of  it ;  must  still  be  sowing,  sowing  in 
the  spirit,  though  the  tears  in  which  we  sowed  be  in 
some  measure  wiped  away :  and  to  assist  you  herein, 
as  God  enables  me,  is  my  desire  and  endeavour  at 
this  time,  that  our  coming  together  may  not  be  in 
vain. 

God  has  many  ways  contended  with  us  of  this 
nation,  with  you  of  this  city ;  as  we  have  been,  like 
Israel  of  old,  favoured  with  many  privileges  and 
advantages  above  our  neighbours,  both  for  life  and 
godliness,  whence  it  might  justly,  and  with  good 
reason,  have  been  inferred,  as  it  was  concerning 
them.  Surely  this  great  nation  is  a  wise  and  under- 
standing people;^  so,  being  found  like  them,  notwith- 
standing this,  a  foolish  people  and  unwise,  nay,  a 
rebellious  and  gainsaying  people,  we  have  like  them 
fallen  under  severe  judgments :  for  the  more  rich  a 
people's  privileges  are,  the  more  provoking  their 
sins  are,  and  consequently  the  heavier  are  their 
punishments ;  for  even  in  this  life,  especially  in 
dealing  with  communities,  (which  as  soch  can  be 
dealt  with  in  this  life  only,)  God  sometimes  observes 
a  proportion  between  the  sins  and  the  plagues. 

Some  have  observed,  that  God's  judgments  upon 
us  in  this  last  age,  have  been  the  sorest  in  their  kind 
of  any  other ;  like  that  concerning  which  the  pro- 
phet appeals  to  the  old  men,  and  to  all  the  inhabit- 
ants of  the  land,  whether  there  had  ever  been  the 
like  in  their  days,  or  in  the  days  of  their  fathers.  *» 
Never  was  there  such  a  plague  in  this  nation,  as  that 


s  Zecb.  Till.  19.         r  Job  zi.  10. 
•  Deut.  !▼.  6. 


•  Qen.  xlj.  61. 
b  Joel  i.  9. 


843 


COMMEMORATION  OF  THE 


in  London  in  1666.  never  such  a  fire  as  that  the  year 
after,  never  sach  a  dreadful  storm  as  that  about  ten 
years  ago,  as  if  God  were  heating  the  furnace  $even 
time*  hatter;  for  he  will  bring  greater  judgments  on 
those  who  are  not  wrought  upon  by  lesser;  and  when 
he  judgeth  he  will  overcome. 

That  which  I  am  now  to  confine  myself  to,  is  the 
fire  of  the  Lord  which  was  kindled  in  this  city,  this 
day  47  years,  which  in  four  days'  time  laid  in  ashes 
the  richest,  the  oldest,  and  the  most  considerable 
part  of  this  city,  I  mean  within  the  walls ;  and  I 
observe  upon  the  calculation  then  made,  that  there 
was  almost  as  much  consumed  without  the  walls, 
as  was  left  standing  within.  For  thus  the  survey 
stood ;  "  373  acres  burnt  within  the  walls,  and  75 
left  standing ;  but  there  were  63  acres  burnt  without 
the  walls."  You  had  89  parish  churches  burnt, 
besides  chapels;  you  had  your  Exchange,  your 
Guildhall,  and  the  halls  of  your  companies,  laid  in 
ashes ;  and  aboye  thirteen  thousand  dwellings  lerel- 
led  with  the  ground. 

Some  of  you  can  remember  it,  perhaps  by  a  good 
token,  a  sad  token,  you  were  burnt  out  of  your  houses 
it  may  be,  and  forced  to  lodge  in  the  fields.  It  may 
be  some  of  you  were  great  losers  by  it,  when  you 
were  young,  and  setting  out  in  the  world,  and  it  was 
a  great  while  before  you  recovered  it ;  it  broke  the 
measures  you  had  laid,  ruffled  your  affairs,  and  put 
you  upon  new  counsels ;  or  perhaps  brought  you  so 
much  to  a  loss,  that  you  were  at  your  wits'  ends,  and 
at  that  time  knew  not  what  to  do ;  but  have  since 
found  to  your  comfort,  that  God  knew  what  to  do 
for  you,  and  has  graciously  helped  you. 

Or  though  you  were  not  then  so  far  grown  up,  or  so 
far  engaged  in  the  world,  as  to  be  sufferers  by  it,  yet 
you  were  eye-witnesses  of  it  You  saw  it  rage,  you 
saw  what  desolations  it  made ;  and  now  you  are  old, 
will  say  it  was  the  most  dreadful  sight  you  ever  saw. 
The  piteous  case  of  so  many  ruined  families,  and 
their  doleful  lamentations,  could  not  but  be  yet  more 
affecting,  yet  more  afflicting ;  and  made  you  ready 
to  cry  with  the  prophet  in  a  like  case,  my  bowelsy  my 
bowels,  I  am  pained  at  my  very  heart,  because  thou 
hast  heard,  O  my  soul,  the  alarm  of  fire !  Fire !  no 
less  terrible  than  the  alarm  of  war;  Destruction 
upon  destruction  is  cried,*'  The  destruction  of  the 
fire,  u  pon  that  of  the  pestilence  the  year  before.  Many 
a  melancholy  story  perhaps  some  of  you  have  told, 
upon  the  occurrences  of  that  time,  and  the  impres- 
sions they  made  upon  you. — Quaque  ipse  miserrima 
vidi — Disastrous  things  have  I  seen. 

But  there  is  another  thing  which  you  must  give 
me  leave  to  inquire.  What  you  remember  of  it? 
The  faithful  ministers  of  Christ  at  that  time,  no 
doubt,  laid  out  themselves  in  their  preaching,  to  im- 
prove that  providence,  in  dealing  with  you  about 

e  Jer.  iv.  19, 30.   d  Fa.  xdv.  18.   •  Eva  iii.  11.   f  Isa.  xxviii.  23. 


your  souls.  Something  came  from  the  press  upon 
that  occasion,  by  Mr.  Vincent,  Mr.  Doolittle,  and 
others ;  and  much  more  we  may  well  conclude  by 
word  of  mouth.  Now  what  do  you  remember  of  that  ? 
What  account  can  you  give  of  the  sermons  yon 
heard  upon  that  occasion,  and  of  the  good  impres- 
sions they  made  upon  you  when  you  were  young-, 
and  your  hearts  tender  ?  Can  you  say,  through  grace, 
that  your  consciences  were  then  conTinced  and 
awakened,  and  that  when  you  were  chastened,  you 
were  taught  out  of  the  law,  and  the  gospel.^  Happy 
the  day,  and  happy  you,  if  what  you  then  lost  by 
the  rod  of  God,  was  made  up,  and  more  than  made 
up  to  you,  in  what  yon  gained  by  the  word  of 
God. 

But  the  most  of  you  were  not  then  bom,  or  were 
so  young  as  to  remember  nothing  of  it ;  yet  you 
have  been  told  of  it,  perhaps  you  have  read  of  it, 
and  cannot  be  altogether  ignorant  of  that  event. 
Blessed  be  God,  there  is  no  occasion  for  such  differ- 
ent sentiments  and  resentments  between  the  old 
people  and  the  young,  as  there  were  when  the  foun- 
dations of  the  second  temple  were  laid,  when  the 
young  people  rejoiced  to  see  a  temple  begun,  but 
the  aged  wept,  because  it  was  so  far  inferior  to  the 
old  one.  No,  if  the  young  will  join  with  you  who 
are  old,  in  bewailing  the  fall  of  the  former  city,  you 
will  join  with  them  in  celebrating  the  beauty  of  the 
latter;"  and  let  both  join  in  endeavouring  to  improve 
the  remembrance  of  that  fire  of  the  Loid. 

Nine  lessons  I  shall  recommend  to  you,  to  be  learn- 
ed from  that  fire  which  we  are  this  day  observing  the 
memorial  of. 

I.  See  how  terrible  God  is  in  his  judgments,  and 
fear  before  him.  It  was  the  fire  of  the  Lord  that 
burnt  among  you ;  whatever  hand  of  man  might  be 
in  it,  it  is  certain  this  evil  in  the  city  was  the  Lord's 
doing;  it  was  a  consumption  determined  by  the 
Lord  of  hosts,'  and  the  breath  of  the  Almighty  that 
kindled  the  fire,  and  directed  all  the  motions  of  it 
It  was  the  Light  of  Israel,  who  is  and  will  be  a  re- 
joicing Light  to  his  people,  that  was  then  as  a  fire, 
a  consuming  fire  ;>  for  so  our  God  is  and  will  be,  to 
those  who  rebel  against  him ;  and  the  Holy  One  of 
Israel,  who  was  then  as  a  flame,  that  devoured  so 
many  churches  and  houses,  as  if  they  had  been 
briers  and  thorns,  in  one  day. 

See  how  terrible  God's  majesty  is ;  when  he  came 
down  upon  an  errand  of  mercy,  to  deliver  Israel  out 
of  Egypt,  he  appeared  in  a  flame  of  fire  in  the  bush;^ 
and  at  Mount  Sinai,  the  sight  of  the  glory  of  the 
God  of  Israel,  was  like  devouring  fire  in  the  eyes  of 
the  children  of  Israel '}  but  much  more  terrible  is 
his  justice  to  them  that  provoke-  him.  If  the  glory 
of  his  greatness  be  like  fire,  to  a  people  who  are 
entering  into  covenant  with  him,  much  more  will  the 


V  ISB.  X.  16,  17. 


h  £zod.  iii.  2. 


I  Eiod.  xzIy.  17, 


FIRE  OF  LONDON. 


843 


terror  of  his  wrath  be  so,  to  a  people  who  have  bro- 
ken coTenant  with  him. 

Come,  behold  what  desolations  God  has  made, 
and  say  with  Moses  the  man  of  God,  upon  the  re^ew 
of  the  judgments  of  God  inflicted  on  Israel  in  the 
wilderness,  and  this  at  Taherah,  among  the  rest. 
Who  kncms  the  power  of  thine  anger  ?^  Say  as  the 
men  of  Bethshemesh  said,  when  there  was  sach  a 
slaughter  made  among  them  who  looked  into  the 
ark.  Who  ii  able  to  stand  before  this  holy  Lord  God?* 
Say  as  the  sinners  in  Sion  are  forced  at  length  to 
say,  and  the  hypocrites  when  fearfulness  surpriseth 
them.  Who  among  us  shall  dwell  with  the  devouring 
fiames^  (by  which  some  understand  God  himself,) 
with  the  everlasting  burning  f  Say  as  David,  Mg 
^sh  tremblethfor  fear  of  thee,  and  I  4sm  afraid  of 
thy  judgments  :^  and  conclude  with  the  apostle.  It 
ie  a  fearful  thing  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  living 
God." 

God  has  all  creatures  at  his  command,  and  all 
the  powers  they  haye  are  deriyed  from  him,  and  by 
them  he  designs  to  keep  the  world  in  awe.  The 
power  which  the  firo  has  to  consume  and  destroy 
is  from  him ;  when  he  pleases  he  can  countermand 
it,  as  in  the  case  of  the  three  children ;  and  when 
be  pleases  he  can  commission  it,  and  enforoe  its 
operations,  and  direct  its  motions.  The  voice  of  the 
Lord  divides  the /lames  of  fir e^  sends  one  flame  one 
way,  and  another  flame  another  way,  and  each  on 
its  respectiye  errand. 

Let  the  thoughts  of  the  flre  of  London  fill  us  with 
a  holy  awe  of  God,  and  a  filial  fear  of  his  wrath ; 
that  fire  of  the  Lord,  which  when  it  is  kindled  but  a 
little,  much  more  when  it  is  kindled  to  such  a  degree, 
we  shall  see  cause  to  say,  Blessed  are  all  they  that 
jmt  their  trust  in  Atfii.<i  Fear  ye  not  me,  saith  the 
Lardy'  that  with  a  touch,  with  a  frown,  with  a  look, 
can  make  the  iiuwsitatfu  smohe  ?  that  with  one  spark 
of  fire  can  lay  heaps  upon  heaps  ?  Let  the  earth  trem- 
ble at  his  presence,  much  more  at  his  absence,  and 
his  departure  in  anger. 

See  what  fools  they  are,  who  make  this  God  their 
enemy  by  sin,  and  engage  his  power  against  them, 
and  yet  when  they  haye  done  so,  bid  defiance  to  his 
justice,  challenge  him  to  do  his  worst,  saying,  Let 
kim  make  speed,  and  hasten  hie  worh,  that  we  may  see 
it*  Is  this  a  God  to  be  jested  with ?  Be  not  de- 
ceived,  he  isnotmoehed.  Presumptuous  sinners,  who 
play  with  this  fire,  who  stretch  out  their  hands  against 
God,  and  strengthen  themsehes  against  the  Almighty, 
who  run  upon  Aim,  even  upon  his  neeh,  upon  the  thich 
bosses  of  his  huekUr}  will  find  to  their  cost,  that  none 
ever  hardened  his  heart  against  God  and  prospered. 
God  has  access  with  his  flames  to  men^s  hearts,  as 
well  as  to  their  houses,  can  kindle  a  fire  in  their  bones, 
a  fire  in  their  consciences,  that  shall  secretly  waste 

k  Ptal.  xc.  11.        11  Sam.  y\.  so.        m  Isa.  xzxiii.  U. 
•  PbL  cxlx.  M»,   o  Heb.  x.  31.   p  PnL  xxlx.  7.   q  Pnl.  it.  is. 


and  exhaust  their  spirits,  a  ^r^  not  blown,  not  seen, 
that  shall  consume  them,  a  fire  that  shall  bum  to  the 
lowest  hell,  and  never  be  quenched. 

Give  all  diligence,  therefore,  to  make  your  peace 
with  this  terrible  God :  it  may  be  done,  it  shall  be 
done,  if  it  be  not  your  own  fault.  Fury  is  not  in 
him,  and  yet  it  is  to  no  purpose  to  think  of  contend- 
ing with  him ;  to  make  opposition,  is  but  like  putting 
briers  and  thorns  before  a  consuming  fire,  which, 
instead  of  stopping  its  progress,  does  but  make  it 
bum  the  more  furiously.  Let  him  therefore  take 
hold  on  his  strength,  that  he  may  make  peace,  atid 
he  shall  makepeace*^ 

And  haying  made  your -peace  with  God,  keep 
yourselves  always  in  his  love,  and  take  heed  of  turn- 
ing yourselves  out  of  it ;  and  while  you  do  so,  solace 
yourselves  in  his  love,  and  believe  that  this  God  of 
power  vriil  be  your  protector,  and  a  wall  of  fire  round 
about  you. 

II.  See  what  a  mischievous  thing  sin  is,  which 
provokes  God  thus  to  be  our  enemy,  and  to  fight 
against  us.  If  it  was  God's  justice  that  burnt  Lon- 
don, Jt  was  man's  injustice  that  brought  fuel  to  the 
fire ;  for  a  fraitful  land  is  never  turned  into  barren- 
ness, nor  a  flourishing  city  into  rains,  but  it  is  for 
the  iniquity  of  them  that  dwell  therein.*  God  never 
contends  with  a  people,  but  it  is  sin,  it  is  sin  tliat  is 
the  cause  of  the  controversy.  National  sins  briug 
national  judgments.  The  sins  of  a  city  bring  misery 
upon  it ;  Jerusalem  hath  grievously  sinned,  therefore 
she  is  removed,^  When  the  men  of  Sodom  were 
wicked,  and  sinners  before  the  Lord  exceedingly, 
it  was  not  long  ere  he  rained  hell  from  heaven  upon 
them ;  and  when  all  flesh  had  corrupted  their  way, 
presently  they  were  cut  down  out  of  time,  and  their 
foundation  overthrown  with  a  flood.  It  was  the 
wickedness  of  the  city,  that  made  it  combustible 
matter  for  the  Are  of  God's  wrath  to  fasten  upon, 
Iliacos  intra  muros  peccatur  et  extra-— 'Sin  reigned 
within  and  without  the  walls.  When  sin  abounds 
both  within  the  walls  and  without,  no  wonder  if  the 
fire  prevails  in  both. 

London  was  then  told  by  the  watchmen  upon  her 
walls,  what  the  sins  were  that  provoked  God  to  lay 
it  waste ;  they  had  then  a  loud  call  to  show  this 
Jerasalem  her  abominations,  which  might  be  read 
in  her  desolations.  It  was  then  justly  observed, 
that  for  some  time  before  the  fire,  the  power  of  vice 
and  profaneness  was  grown  more  exorbitant  than 
ever,  more  daring,  more  threatening,  that  it  insulted 
and  triumphed  over  the  restraints  and  checks  which 
for  some  years  before  it  had  lain  under,  and  now 
set. them  at  defiance.  It  was  observed,  remember,  not 
long  since,  by  a  venerable  body,  '*  That  at  that  time, 
to  avoid  hypocrisy,  men  ran  into  open  impiety :"  and 
I  have  heard  it  complained  of,  by  those  who  lived  at 

r  Jer.  V.  as.  •  laa.  ▼.  i9.  %  Job  xv.  ss»a6. 

n  laa.  xxvii.  4, 5.         «  PnO.  cvi>.  34.  w  Lam.  i.  8. 


844 


COMMEMORATION  OF  THE 


that  time,  **  that  debaachery  was  made  by  many  a 
test  of  loyalty ;  and  a  man  was  saspected  to  be  dis- 
affected to  his  prince,  if  he  did  not  profane  the  name 
of  his  God/'  Was  this  the  character  of  the  times 
immediately  preceding  that  desolation  ?  And  oonld 
any  other  be  expected,  but  that  God  should  visit  for 
these  things,  and  that  his  sonl  should  be  avenged  on 
such  a  city,  such  a  nntion^  as  this  f^ 

Sabbath-breaking  is  a  sin  for  which  God  has  par- 
ticularly threatened  to  contend  by  fire :  If  ye  will 
not  hearken  to  me,  to  hallow  the  sabbath  day,  I  will 
kindle  afire  in  the  gates  ofJerusaUmJ  How  sabbaths 
had  been  profaned  in  those  times  of  licentiousness,  is 
easy  to  conjecture ;  and  if  we  may  make  remarks  upon 
the  circumstances  of  a  judgment,  in  order  to  the  im- 
proving of  it,  it  must  be  taken  notice  of,  that  the 
fire  began  between  one  and  two  of  the  clock  on  a 
Lord's-day  morning,  as  if  God  would  thereby  inti- 
mate, that  it  was  kindled  to  avenge  the  quarrel  of 
his  sabbath. 

How  should  this  increase  our  hatred  of  sin,  that 
evil  and  bitter  thing,  by  which  we  have  procured 
such  things  as  these  to  ourselves,  which  has  been 
the  destruction  of  souls,  bodies,  families,  cities, 
churches,  nations,  worlds ;  which  is  not  only  the  re- 
proach, but  the  ruin,  of  any  people.  What  a  dread 
should  we  conceive  of  the  fatal  consequences  of  na- 
tional sins,  which  would  fix  us  among  those  holy 
mourners,  who  sigh  and  cry  for  the  abominations 
that  are  committed  amongst  us.'  Methinks  this 
should  put  life  into  the  despised  and  almost  deserted 
cause,  of  the  refonnation  of  manners  among  us,  that 
in  the  prosecution  of  it,  we  not  only  consult  the  glory 
of  God,  the  honour  of  our  holy  religion,  and  the  good 
of  precious  souls,  but  the  peace,  safety,  and  prosperity 
of  the  communities  we  are  members  of.  -The  surest 
way  to  prevent  another  fire,  is,  to  discountenance 
and  suppress  that  immorality  and  profaneness,  for 
which  the  fire  of  the  Lord  has  burnt  among  you. 

Not  that  this  was  the  only  g^round  of  God's  contro- 
versy with  the  city.  Even  the  professors  of  religion, 
who  run  not  with  others  to  an  excess  of  riot,  con- 
tributed to  the  guilt  which  kindled  those  flames,  by 
their  lukewarmness  and  indifference  in  religion,  their 
pride,  and  vanity,  and  worldliness,  and  neglect  of 
family  worship,  as  they  were  often  then  told  by  their 
faithful  reprovers.  Under  such  public  calamities, 
our  business  is  not  to  judge  and  censure  others,  but 
each  of  us  to  take  blame  and  shame  to  ourselves, 
and  seriously  to  ask.  What  haee  I  done  f 

And  yet  we  must  be  very  regardless  of  the  work 
of  the  Lord,  and  the  operation  of  his  hand,  if  we  do 
not  observe,  that  London's  plague  and  fire  came  but 
three  or  four  years  after  the  casting  out  and  silenc- 
ing of  a  great  number  of  able,  faithful  ministers  of 
Christ  there,  and  all  the  nation  over,  because  they 

X  Jer.  V.  0.     7  Jet.  zvii.  97.     ■  £iek.  Is.  4.     •  Jer.  xxzvi.  16. 


would  not  sin  against  their  consciences.  Jerusalem 
was  burnt  the  first  time,  for  misusing  the  messengers 
of  the  Lord  ;*  and  the  second  time,  for  laying  hands 
on  the  disciples  of  Christ,  and  persecuting  them  ;^ 
for  Christ  resented  what  was  done  against  them,  as 
done  against  himself. 

At  least  we  must  be  allowed  to  observe,  that  the 
fire  happened  not  six  months  after  the  commcDcing 
of  the  Five-mile  Act,  by  which  they  who,  but  a  little 
before,  were  turned  out  of  their  churches,  were  bar- 
barously  turned  out  of  their  houses,  and  not  suffered 
to  live  within  five  miles  of  any  corporation,  or  of  the 
places  where  they  had  been  ministers.  It  was  the 
observation  of  a  wise  and  good  man  at  that  time, 
*'  that  as  it  was  in  mercy  to  many  of  the  ministers, 
that  they  were  removed  out  of  the  city,  before  that 
desolating  judgment  came ;  so  it  spoke  aloud  to  the 
government.  Let  my  people  yo,  that  they  may  serve 
me ;  and  if  ye  will  not,  behold,  thus  and  thus  will  I  do 
unto  you."  This  he  thought  was  the  Lord's  voice, 
then  crying  in  the  city. 

III.  See  what  an  uncertain  thing  this  world  is, 
an4  all  our  possessions  and  employments  in  it.  If 
men  would  but  believe  the  preacher's  text  and  doc- 
trine, which  is  delivered  to  us,  not  only  as  the  word 
of  the  Eternal  God,  which  therefore  we  may  venture 
to  believe,  nay,  are  bound  to  believe,  but,  in  compas- 
sion to  our  infirmity,  is  confirmed  to  us  by  the  obser- 
vation and  experience  of  the  wisest  of  men,  A  U  it 
vanity — vanity  of  vanities,  and  vexation  of  spirit, 
and  would  live  up  to  their  belief  of  it,  it  would  save 
them  a  great  deal  of  trouble  \  for  how  many  sore 
crosses  and  affiictions  does  the  worldliness  of  our 
hearts  need  and  call  for,  to  give  us  a  sensible  de- 
monstration, that  we  may  come  under  the  needfol 
conviction  of  the  vanity  of  this  world,  and  its  insufii- 
ciency  to  make  us  happy. 

How  plainly  may  we  read  this,  by  the  light  of 
London's  flames !  How  many  well-furnished  houses 
and  shops  were  then  consumed  in  a  little  time !  It 
is  part  of  the  lamentation  of  the  ruin  of  Babylon, 
that  in  one  hour  so  great  riches  is  come  to  nought,'*^ 
How  many  who  were  worth  thousands  over-night, 
were  so  impoverished  by  the  fire,  that  they  were 
worth  nothing,  or  next  to  nothing,  by  the  next 
morning !  Like  Job,  whom  the  rising  sun  saw  the 
richest  of  all  the  men  of  the  east,  and  the  setting  sun 
left  poor  to  a  proverb.  Our  Saviour  speaks  of  the 
danger  we  are  in,  of  losing  our  treasures  upon  earth, 
by  the  moth  that  corrupts,  or  thieves  that  break 
through  and  steal  ;^  but  this  loss  of  it  by  fire,  is 
worse  than  either.  What  the  moth  has  been  in,  may 
yet  be  good  for  something,  and  what  the  thief  has 
stolen,  may  perhaps  be  recovered;  but  what  the 
fire  has  consumed,  is  quite  lost,  and  past  retrieve. 
How  sudden  and  surprising  was  this  desolation, 


bLukexsl.  IS. 


c  Rev.  xviil.  17. 


dlfattvi.  10. 


FIRE  OF  LONDON. 


645 


bow  little  thought  of  and  expected  by  the  sufferers, 
who  hoped  tlicy  had  goods  laid  up  for  many  years, 
and  houses  that  should  endure  to  many  generations, 
when  the  fire  comes  with  a  warrant  to  seize  them 
this  night,  and  to  strip  them  of  all ;  and  thereby  to 
teach  you  and  me  not  to  bo&st  ourselves  of  to-mor- 
row, since  we  know  not  what  a  day,  what  a  night, 
what  an  hour,  may  bring  forth.*  And  in  how  little 
time  was  the  desolation  accomplished !  Three  or  four 
days  reduced  to  ashes  buildings  that  had  been  long 
in  rearing,  and  treasures  that  had  been  long  in  ga- 
thering. 

This  is  a  good  reason  why  the  rich  man  should 
not  glory  in  his  riches,  for  as  the  flower  of  the  grass, 
which  is  scorched  by  the  sun,  they  pass  away '  and 
are  gone,  and  their  place  knows  them  no  more ;  a 
good  reason  why  we  should  not  be  secure  in  the 
enjoyment  of  our  worldly  possessions,  nor  flatter 
ourselves  with  the  thought,  that  to-morrow  must 
needs  be  as  this  day,  and  much  more  abundant ; 
that  we  shall  die  in  our  nest,  and  that  our  mountain 
stands  so  strong,  that  it  cannot  be  moved,  when  we 
know  not  what  agn^at  change  a  very  little  time  may 
prod  ace. 

It  is  a  good  reason  why  we  should  not  make  these 
perishing  things  our  portion,  nor  lay  up  our  treasure 
in  them ;  and  why  we  should  sit  loose  to  them,  and 
take  our  aflfections  off  from  them :  for  shall  we  set 
our  eyes  and  hearts  upon  these  things  that  are  not, 
that  make  themselves  wings  and  flee  away  ;v  that 
are  liable  to  a  thousand  destructive  casualties,  and 
are  therefore  unworthy  of  our  esteem  and  regard, 
esspecially,  when  they  stand  in  competition  with  the 
trae  and  everlasting  riches  ?  It  is  therefore  our  wis- 
dom to  be  dead  to  these  things,  because  if  we  be, 
we  shall  the  better  bear  the  disappointment,  if  they 
should  be  thas  taken  from  us,  and  we  shall  easily 
say,  it  was  what  we  looked  for.  Your  houses,  and 
shops,  and  goods  are  combustible  things :  call  them 
so,  and  put  a  value  upon  them  accordingly,  as  you 
do  upon  paper-buildings,  and  give  all  diligence  to 
make  that  snre,  which  will  be  made  sure.  When 
Jerusalem's  desolation  was  hastening  on,  the  in- 
habitants had  this  needful  admonition  given  them. 
Arise  jfe,  and  depart ^  this  is  not  your  rest,  for  it  is 
polUted,^  it  is  true  of  all  things  here  below,  they 
are  pollated  with  sin,  and  are  hastening  towards 
their  rain,  and  therefore  cannot  be  the  repose  of  our 
souls.  What  then  should  we  do,  but  arise  and  de- 
part from  them  ? 

Neighbourhood,  which  is  the  pleasure  of  cities, 
where  houses  join  so  close,  may  prove  of  ill  conse- 
qoence,  and  serve  but  to  spread  and  propagate  the 
flames :  of  that  therefore,  no  more  than  of  other  pre- 
sent comforts,  let  us  not  be  over-fond. 

rv.  See  how  malicious  the  enemies  of  our  peace 
and  our  holy  religion  are,  and  what  need  we  have 


•  ProT.  jocvii.  I. 


f  James  i.  lo. 


ff  Prov.  sxili.  A, 


to  stand  upon  our  guard  against  them.  There  is  a 
day  that  will  bring  to  light  the  hidden  works  of 
darkness,  and  bring  into  judgment  every  secret 
thing,  and  to  that  day  must  be  referred  the  full  dis- 
covery of  the  cause  of  the  fire  of  London.  There 
was  as  full  a  demonstration  given  as  could  be,  by 
the  master  of  the  house  where  the  fire  began,  that  it 
could  not  possibly  be  by  accident,  which  gave 
abundant  cause  to  think  that  it  was  designedly  set 
on  fire  by  Romish  incendiaries,  for  the  weakening  of 
the  protestant  interest,  which  they  have  all  along 
been,  and  still  are,  aiming  at  the  destruction  of. 

The  parliament  met  soon  after  tfie  fire,  and  pre- 
sently,  even  that  House  of  Commons  appointed  a 
committee  to  inquire  into  the  causes  of  the  late  fire ; 
before  whom  abundance  of  informations  were  given 
in  and  proved,  which  were  afterwards  printed  ;  but 
the  parliament  was  prorogued  before  any  judgment 
was  given  upon  them.  But  it  seems  very  evident, 
upon  the  concurring  testimonies  then  given  in,  to 
which  I  refer  you,  that  it  was  the  execution  of  a 
popish  design.  One  Robert  Hubert,  a  French  pa- 
pist, being  taken  up  upon  suspicion,  confessed  that 
he  was  one  of  those  who  fired  the  baker's  house, 
that  was  first  set  on  fire,  with  a  fire-ball ;  and  he 
was  executed  for  it.  Many  others  were  taken  throw- 
ing fire-balls,  but  by  some  means  or  other  made  their 
escape,  as  appears  by  the  report  of  that  committee. 

I  would  not  be  found  insinuating  any  causeless, 
groundless  jealousies,  nor  incensing  men  with  en- 
mities against  the  persons  of  any;  our  religion 
teaches  us  to  forgive  our  enemies,  and  to  pray  to 
God  to  forgive  them  ;  we  may  not  call  for  fire  from 
heaven  upon  those  who  are  set  on  fire  of  hell  against 
us.* 

But  if  this  be  true,  as  we  have  reason  to  think  it 
is,  surely  it  cannot  but  confirm  and  increase  our  de- 
testation of  popery,  and  fill  us  with  a  holy,  heavenly 
zeal  against  that  strong  delusion.  Can  that  be  the 
religion  of  the  meek  and  humble  Jesus,  which  needs, 
and  prescribes,  and  uses  such  methods  for  its  own 
propagation,  as  not  only  Christianity  abhors,  but 
even  humanity  startles  at,  and  is  shocked  by  ?  Our 
Lord  Jesus  would  not  force  his  way,  no  not  to  Jeru- 
salem, by  destroying  a  poor  village,  and  that  of 
Samaritans  too,  that  opposed  him,  and  gave  this 
reason  for  it,  that  the  Son  of  man  eame  not  to  destroy 
men's  lives  and  dwellings,  but  to  save  them  T^  How 
far  then  are  they  from,  nay,  how  contrary  to,  the 
spirit  of  Christ  and  his  holy  religion,  who  make  no 
difficulty  of  destroying  a  great  city,  and  that  of 
Christians  too,  for  the  compassing  of  their  design 
to  reduce  a  people  under  the  heavy  yoke  of  their 
tyranny,  that  had  happily  escaped  from  under  it. 
But  no  wonder  they  stumble  not  at  heaps  of  ruins, 
when  they  startle  not  at  seas  of  blood  ;  but  to  gain 
their  point,  can  wade  through  them  without  horror. 


h  HIc.  il.  10. 


1  James  ili.  6. 


k  Luke  ix.  A& 


846 


COMMEMORATION  OF  THE 


How  many  treasons,  marders,  and  massacres,  have 
not  only  been  justified  but  consecrated,  wben  they 
have  been  for  the  adyancement  of  the  pretended 
catholic  cause !  Instruments  of  cruelty  are  in  their 
habitation,  as  in  that  of  Simeon  and  Levi :  O  my 
souly  come  not  thou  into  their  secretJ 

And  as  it  should  increase  our  hatred  of  the  Romish 
religion,  so  it  should  increase  our  dread  of  the  Rom- 
ish designs  against  us,  and  all  that  is  dear  to  us. 
The  extirpating  of  that  which  they  call  the  Northern 
Heresy,  is  what  they  have  been  aiming  at  ever  since 
the  reformation  ;  and  we  have  no  reason  to  think 
they  have  dropped  the  design,  when  not  many  years 
ago,  it  was  carried  so  far,  that  it  was  next  door  to 
an  accomplishment,  and  no  less  than  a  miracle  of 
mercy  saved  our  darling  Isaac  from  being  sacrificed 
to  popish  tyranny,  when  it  lay  bound  upon  the  altar. 
Or,  have  we  any  reason  to  think  that  popery  has 
altered  its  character  ?  I  wish  we  had :  but  the  me- 
thods lately  taken  to  root  out  the  protestant  religion 
in  France,  besides  the  persecution  we  hear  of  in 
Poland,  at  this  time,  and  other  instances,  are  suffi- 
cient to  convince  us,  that  popery  is  the  same  bloody, 
barbarous,  inhuman  thing,  that  ever  it  was,  and 
therefore  its  advances  towards  us  are  to  be  as  much 
dreaded  as  ever ;  that  we  may  be  quickened  in  our 
prayers  to  God,  to  fortify  our  bulwarks  against  that 
complication  of  sins  and  judgments,  and  to  lift  up  a 
standard  against  that  enemy,  even  when  he  comes  in 
like  a  flood.  Cry  earnestly  to  God  day  and  night, 
that  he  would  turn  all  the  counsels  of  popish  Achi- 
tophels  into  foolishness ;  and  I  trust  he  will,  as  he 
has  done  many  a  time. 

v.  See  how  graciously  God  often  remembers  mercy 
m  the  midst  of  wrath,  and  in  compassion  takes  up 
his  controversy,  when  he  might  in  justice  proceed 
in  it.  You  have  a  monument  of  the  judgment,  here 
where  the  fire  began,  but  in  every  place  where  it 
stopt,  the  houses  that  escaped  are  so  many  monu- 
ments of  sparing  mercy.  Yon  can  easily  perceive, 
by  the  different  materials  and  structure  of  the  houses, 
just  how  far  the  fire  proceeded :  when  you  observe 
this,  say,  It  is  of  the  Lord's  mercies  that  we  are  not 
consumed/^  that  all  was  not  consumed,  that  God  did 
not  make  a  full  end,  but  that,  when  he  overthrew 
some  of  you,  as  he  overthrew  Sodom  and  Gomorrah, 
yet  others  of  you  were  as  brands  plucked  out  of  the 
burning."  The  quenching  of  the  fire  at  Taberah* 
is  here  recorded  with  the  kindling  of  it,  that  we 
might  learn  to  sing  of  mercy  and  judgment,  and  sing 
unto  God  of  both,  for  in  both  his  hand  is  to  be  seen. 

When  God  had  made  London  as  a  fiery  oven  in 
the  day  of  his  wrath,  and  the  flames  went  on  like  a 
mighty  army,  conquering  and  to  conquer,  threaten- 
ing to  leave  neither  root  nor  branch ;  then  God  re- 
pented himself  concerning  his  servants,  his  soul  was 
grieved  for  the  misery  of  London,  and  he  said.  How 


I  Gen.  zUx.  1, 8. 


m  Lam  iii  S3- 


B  Amosiv.  11. 


shall  I  give  thee  up  T  How  shall  I  deliver  thee  ?  How 
shall  I  make  thee  as  Admah,  and  set  thee  as  Ze][>oim? 
In  every  place  whither  the  fire  had  spread,  much 
about  the  same  time  a  check  was  given  to  it,  and 
God  said  to  the  raging  fire,  as  he  does  to  the  raging 
sea.  Hitherto  shalt  thou  come  and  no  further,  here 
shall  thy  proud  waves,  thy  proud  flames,  he  staid. 

Let  this  be  remembered  with  thankfulness  to  God^ 
and  to  the  praise  of  that  mercy  of  his,  which  rejoiceth 
against  judgment,  and  prevents  its  making  a  full 
end ;  and  let  us  add  to  this,  our  own  experience  of 
the  like  seasonable  interpositions  of  divine  mercy 
for  our  relief.  The  earthly  house  of  this  tabernacle 
has  perhaps  been  on  fire  with  a  fever,  or  some  other 
wasting,  consuming  distemper,  ready  to  reduce  it  to 
dust  and  ashes,  yet  God  has  staid  the  progress  of 
it,  has  said  unto  us.  Live,  and  the  time  was  a  time  of 
love,  not  to  be  forgotten. 

It  ought  to  be  taken  notice  of  as  an  answer  of 
prayer ;  we  are  told  here,  that  when  the  fire  of  the 
Lord  burnt  in  the  camp  of  Israel,  Moses,  that  great 
intercessor,  and  as  such,  a  type  of  Christ,  prayed 
unto  the  Lord,  and  then  the  fire  was  quenched.  And 
no  doubt  when  London  was  burning,  there  were  a 
remnant  of  praying  people  standing  in  the  gap,  to 
turn  away  the  wrath  of  God,  who  wept  and  made 
supplication,  and  in  answer  to  their  prayer,  God 
spared  a  part  of  the  city.  The  prophet  Amos  tells 
us  that  when,  in  his  time,  the  Lord  God  called  to 
contend  by  fire,  he  prayed,  O  Lord  God,  cease  I  be- 
seech thee,  and  the  Lord  repented  for  this.  It  shall 
not  be,  saith  the  Lord  God,^ 

Let  this  engs^ge  us  to  call  upon  God,  and  encou- 
rage us  to  trust  in  him  in  all  our  straits  and  difficul- 
ties, be  they  ever  so  g^eat  and  threatening:  he  is  a 
present  help  in  time  of  need,  and  the  necessity,  as  it 
engages  his  mercy,  so  it  magnifies  his  power.  If  we 
can  by  faith  depend  upon  him  to  save  us,  then  when 
we  think  we  perish,  it  shall  be  made  to  appear  that 
even  the  winds  and  the  seas  obey  him. 

YI.  See  how  wonderfully  God  can  revive  what 
seemed  to  be  ruined.  Now  we  are  remembering  the 
burning  of  this  city,  we  must  by  no  means  overlook 
the  rebuilding  of  it,  and  the  raising  up  of  another 
city,  phoenix-like,  out  of  the  ashes  of  the  old  one. 
I  am  apt  to  think  this  seemed  to  them  who  lived  then 
almost  impracticable,  and  there  were  those  who  were 
ready  to  despair  of  it.  How  should  they  find  money 
to  rebuild  their  houses,  and  to  contribute  their  share 
to  the  public  buildings  too,  who  had  not  only  lost 
their  goods  in  the  fire,  but  lost  in  a  manner  their 
trades  too,  by  which  they  and  their  families  must 
subsist?  and  yet  the  Lord  their  God  being  with 
them,  they  built  and  prospered,  and  in  two  or  thrpe 
years,  there  scarce  remained  any  marks  or  footsteps 
of  the  fire.  You  may  easily  imagine  how  great  the 
destruction  was,  and  yet  you  will  hardly  imagine  it. 


o  Numb.xL;i. 


F  Amos  Vii.  4^<sl 


FIRE  IN  LONDON. 


847 


when  you  obserre  how  magnificent  the  repair  of  it 
is;  for  surely  the  glory  of  the  Utter  eity  ufaryreat-- 
trthan  the  glory  of  the  former:  I  wish  it  were  so 
apoD  the  account  that  the  glory  of  the  latter  temple 
80  far  exceeded  that  of  the  former,  which  was  the 
presence  of  Christ  in  it 

When  God  made  of  this  city  a  heap,  yet  he  did 
not  make  it  to  be  no  city,  nor  say  concerning  it,  that 
it  should  never  be  built  again  ;^  it  was  desolate,  bat 
not,  as  Babylon,  desolate  forever ;  no,  nor  as  Jem- 
niem,  that  had  seyenty  years  accomplished  in  her 
desolation:'  bnt  in  a  little  time  God  had  mercy  on 
foor  dwelling-places,  as  the  prophet  speaks,  and  the 
n>3f  wa»  bmlt  again  on  her  oum  heap,*  and  built  again 
vith  advantage,  more  strong,  more  beautiful,  and 
more  uniform  than  it  had  been  before ;  as  if  it  had 
passed  through  a  refining  fire,  rather  than  a  consum- 
iag  one,  and  had  only  been  melted  down  to  be  cast 
in  a  better  mould.  This  was  the  Lord^e  doing,  for 
txet^  he  hnild  the  home,  they  labour  in  vain  that  build 
I'C  and  it  may  justly  be  marvelloui  in  our  eye*. 
God  has  fulfilled  to  you  what  he  said  of  Zion  and 
Jerusalem,  Though  /  waejealoue  against  them  with 
freat  fury,  yet  /  am  returned  unto  Zion,  and  will 
d€tU  in  the  midst  of  Jeruealem  ;  and  O  that  the 
following  promise  to  Jerusalem  might  be  made  good 
to  London,  It  shall  be  called  a  city  of  truth,  and  the 
ntuntainofthe  Lordtf  hosts,  the  holy  mountain,*  How 
well  were  it,  if  the  hearts  of  the  citizens  were  as 
much  improved  by  the  fire,  as  their  houses  were ! 

Let  this  resurrection  of  the  city  out  of  its  ashes, 
i>e  to  ns  an  emblem  of  the  state  of  Christ's  church  in 
the  world;  it  is  persecuted,  but  not  forsahen,  cast 
hvn,  but  not  destroyed  i'  its  desolations  may  some- 
imes  be  said  to  be  universal,  but  they  shall  not  be 
|>crpetiiaL  The  protestant  interest  in  many  places 
b  broQght  very  low,  and  its  ruins  trampled  on,  by 
tbe  same  that  triumphed  in  the  ruins  of  this  city  of 
ovr  solemnities,  yet  we  have  reason  to  hope  it  shall 
reTi?e,  and  flourish  again,  even  where  it  seems  razed 
to  the  very  foundations.  It  is  promised  concerning 
tbe  tabernacle  of  David,  which  is  fallen  down,  that 
Sod  will  build  again  the  ruins  thereof,*'  and  will 
iet  it  Qp :  when  the  time  comes  that  Babylon  must 
^^11  (and  fall  it  must  sooner  or  later,)  that  promise 
iball  be  fulfilled.  Let  this  quicken  our  prayers  to 
^od,  for  the  re-establishing  of  the  protestant  reli- 
gion, where  it  is  borne  down  and  trampled  on,  and 
'«t  OS  continue  instant  in  that  prayer,  and  not  faint, 
'hough  we  be  sadly  disappointed  in  the  hands  that 
*«  thought  should  have  gone  forward  in  the  effect- 
"i^of  it;  God  will  do  his  own  work  in  his  own  way 
»nd  lime,  if  not  by  might  and  power,  yet  by  the  Spirit , 
y^e  Lard  of  Hosts ;  for  so  Jerusalem  was  rebuilt, 
ind  before  that  Spirit  the  mountains  of  diflicolty 
bat  lay  in  the  way  became  plain.*    Our  care  must 

n  la.  xxr.  1   f  Dan.  \x.  a.   •  Jer.  xxx.  IS.    t  P«l.  cxxt li.  1. 
•  Z€ch.  ?lli.  a,  a  »  a  Cor.  ir.  9.  w  Acts  xv.  IS. 


be  to  retain  a  sincere  affection  for  our  holy  religion, 
how  low  soever  the  profession  of  it  is,  or  may  be 
brought,  and  not  think  the  worse  of  it  for  its  being 
deserted,  and  losing  ground.  It  is  the  character  of 
the  servants  of  God,  that  when  Zion  is  in  ruins,  they 
take  pleasure  even  in  its  broken  scattered  stones, 
and  favour  the  very  dust  thereof,  they  love  the 
ground  she  stood  upon ;  and  let  such  assure  them- 
selves, that  the  time  to  favour  Zion,  yea,  the  set  time, 
will  come.  And  when  the  Lord  shall  build  up  Zion, 
he  shall  appear  in  his  glory,  and  in  doing  it  will  put 
this  honour  upon  the  wrestling  seed  of  Jacob,  that 
therein  he  will  regard  the  prayer 'of  the  destitute, 
and  not  despise  their  prayer.^  Let  Daniel's  prayer 
therefore  be  ours,  and  his  plea,  that  God  would 
cause  his  face  to  shine  upon  the  sanctuary  that  is 
desolate  for  the  Lord's  sake.' 

YII.  See  how  dangerous  our  condition  is,  who 
have  not  been  reformed  by  the  various  methods  God 
has  taken  with  us.    You  have  long  since  seen  your 
city  rebuilt,  and  the  effects  of  the  fire  no  more  re- 
maining, which  may  supersede  the  annual  memo- 
rial of  the  judgment :  but  if  the  ends  of  it  be  not 
answered,  there  is  still  occasion  to  revive  the  remem- 
brance of  it;  may  not  God  justly  complain  of  us, 
as  he  did  of  Israel,  You  have  sometimes  been  over- 
thrown by  signal  judgments,  and  at  other  times 
saved  by  signal  mercies,  yet  have  ye  not  returned 
unto  me,  saith  the  Lord,*    And  we  may  therefore 
justly  fear,  that  for  all  this  his  anger  is  not  turned 
away,  but  his  hand  is  stretched  out  still.^    Is  there 
any  less  sinning,  or  any  more  praying,  in  London 
than  there  was  formerly  ?    I  wish  there  were.    But 
we  have  too  much  reason  to  fear,  that  we  come  under 
Jerusalem's  sad  character,  when  the  founder  melted 
in  vain.^  Iniquity  still  abounds  and  goes  barefaced, 
vice  is  as  daring  and  threatening  as  ever ;  and  what 
will  be  in  the  end  thereof?    May  we  not.  fear,  lest 
God  should  send  gpreater  judgments  among  us,  since 
lesser  have  not  done  their  work,  nor  gained  their  point. 
There  are  fires  of  another  nature,  which  we  have 
reason  to  fear  the  fatal  effects  of,  both  to  the  city, 
and  to  the  land,  I  mean  our  unhappy  divisions  and 
animosities,  and  violent  heats  one  against  another : 
the  sin  that  is  in  our  divisions  may  be  justly  punish- 
ed with  the  ruin  that  is  commonly  the  effect  of  them, 
for  a  city  or  kingdom  divided  against  itself  is 
brought  to  desolation,  and  becomes  an  easy  prey  to 
the  common  enemy,  who  warm  their  hands  at  those 
flames,  and  doubt  not  to  find  their  account  in  setting 
us  at  variance  one  against  another. 

The  removal  of  the  gospel,  and  the  taking  away 
of  our  candlestick  out  of  its  place,  would  be  a  much 
sorer  judgment  than  the  burning  of  the  city,  and 
ought  to  be  dreaded  and  deprecated  accordingly.   If 

papal  tyranny  should  again  take  footing  here,  if  our 

■■   <  ■  ' 

s  Zech.  iv.  6,  7.       7  Paal-  cii.  13, 14, 16, 17.       ■  Dan.  ix.  17 
•  AmoB.  It.  II.         b  ba.  ix.  17.         e  Jer.  vi.  29. 


848 


COMMEMORATION  OF  THE 


Bibles  should  be  taken  from  us,  and  our  ministers  be 
banished  or  put  to  death,  if  the  idolatrons  mass 
should  be  set  up  in  our  churches  and  the  conse- 
crated host  carried  about  our  streets  to  be  adored, 
London  would  look  a  more  melancholy  place  than 
it  did  when  it  was  in  ashes.  I  hope  that  God,  who 
has  hitherto  by  miracles  of  mercy  saved  our  holy 
religion,  will  still,  and  that  that  blessed  light  shall 
not  die  in  our  hands ;  I  hope  it  will  never  come  to 
that ;  yet  I  must  say  we  have  no  reason  to  be  secure, 
when  we  consider  the  desert  of  our  sins,  and  the 
designs  of  our  enemies,  and  especially  when  we 
consider  the  desolations  of  divers  pnitestant  churches 
abroad,  that  once  thought  themselves  as  safe  and  as 
likely  to  continue  a&  we  do.  Go  tee  what  God  did 
to  Shiloh;  what  he  did  to  the  seven  churches  of 
Asia ;  and  let  us  not  be  high-minded  but  fear,  for 
are  we  better  than  they  ? 

The  cause  of  truth  and  godliness  shall  be  victori- 
ous at  last,  but  may  meet  with  many  a  hard  struggle 
in  the  mean  time.  What  trying  times  may  be  before 
us  we  cannot  tell,  but  I  am  sure  it  is  our  wisdom  to 
be  prepared  for  the  worst,  by  being  more  and  more 
established  in  the  truth  as  it  is  in  Jesus,  by  sitting 
loose  to  the  world,  and  treasuring  up  such  comforts 
and  experiences^  as  will  carry  us  with  courage  and 
cheerfulness  through  the  most  mournful  time,  to  a 
most  joyful  eternity ;  and  then  welcome  the  will  of  God. 

The  gospel  is  not  tied  to  places ;  its  privileges  are 
movable  thing^.  The  kingdom  of  God  may  be 
taken  from  us,  and  given  to  another  nation  ;*'  and 
what  will  become  of  us,  if  our  glory  be  departed, 
and  all  our  pleasant  things  laid  waste.  The  most 
effectual  course  we  can  take  to  prevent  it,  is  to  make 
a  good  use  of  our  privileges,  and  live  up  to  them ; 
as  the  most  threatening  step  toward  it  is  the  corrupt- 
ing the  nation  with  the  vices  of  its  neighbours, 
which  will  be  as  fatal  to  it  as  the  idols  and  idolatries 
of  the  countries  round  about  were  to  Israel  of  old. 

I  would  not  amuse  people  with  causeless  jealousies, 
but  awaken  people  to  a  holy  fear  and  diligence  in 
their  duty  by  these  suggestions.  There  is  a  startling 
passage  in  Mr.  George  Herbert's  poem,  called  the 
Church  Militant,  written  I  believe  about  eighty  years 
ago,  which  has  been  much  taken  notice  of.  After  he 
had  showed  how  the  church  took  rise  in  the  eastern 
parts  of  the  world,  and  so  moved  more  and  more 
westerly,  he  goes  on  thus : 

Religion  stands  on  tiptoe  in  our  land. 
Ready  to  pass  to  the  American  strand. 
When  height  of  malice  and  prodf^ious  lusts. 
Impudent  sinnings,  witchcrafts,  and  distrusts 
(The  marks  of  future  bane)  shall  fill  our  cup 
Unto  the  brim,  and  make  our  measure  up ; 
When  Seine  shall  swallow  Tyber,  and  the  Thames, 
By  letting  in  them  both,  pollute  her  streams ; 

d  Matt  xxl.  4a 


When  Italy  of  us  shall  have  her  will, 

And  all  her  calendar  of  sins  fulfil. 

Whereby  one  may  foretell  what  sins  next  year 

Shall  both  in  France  and  England  domineer ; 

Then  shall  religion  to  America  flee. 

They  have  their  times  of  gospel  ev'n  as  we. 

I  remember  I  heard  Dr.  Tillotson  (afterwards 
Archbishop)  quote  these  verses  of  Mr.  Herbert's,  in 
a  sermon  on  John  xii.  36.  Yet  a  little  while  is  the 
light  with  you ;  (it  is  since  printed  in  the  second 
volume  of  the  folio  edition  of  his  posthumous  works ; ) 
and  having  explained  the  signs  of  the  times  to  be 
this,  "  When  the  vices  of  Italy  shall  pass  into 
France,  and  the  vices  of  both  shall  overspread  Eng- 
land, then  the  gospel  will  leave  these  parts  of  the 
world."— He  makes  this  remark  upon  it,  '*  Whether 
this  was  only  the  prudent  conjecture  and  foresight 
of  a  wise  man,  or  whether  there  be  not  something 
more  prophetical  in  it,  I  cannot  tell.  But  we  have 
too  much  cause  to  apprehend,  that  if  we  do  not 
reform  and  grow  better,  God  will  find  some  way  or 
other  to  deprive  us  of  that  light,  which  is  so  abused 
and  affronted  by  our  wicked  lives;  and  he  seems 
now  to  say  to  us,  as  Christ  did  to  the  Jews,  yet  a 
little  while  is  the  light  with  you/* 

VIII.  See  what  a  necessary  and  constant  depend- 
ence we  have  upon  God  and  bis  providence  for  our 
safety.  You  have  seen  how  great  a  matter  a  little 
fire  kindles,  and  in  a  little  time,  and  cannot  but 
think  how  much  all  you  have  in  the  world  lies  at 
the  mercy  of  that  merciless  element,  if  God  should 
give  it  commission.  Though  you  be  ever  so  careful 
of  fire  in  your  own  houses,  how  many  careless  peo- 
ple are  there  in  the  houses  about  you,  which,  if  set 
on  ^re,  would  soon  set  yours  on  fire ;  so  that  we  can 
be  no  night  secure,  but  that  we  may  be  either  burnt 
tn  our  beds,  or  burnt  out  of  them.  There  have  been 
frequent  fires  in  and  about  the  city  since  this  great 
one,  to  put  you  in  mind  of  what  God  has  done,  and 
what  he  could  do;  and  many  other  accidents  we  and 
our  families  continually  lie  exposed  to :  the  dreadful 
wind  ten  years  ago,  showed  you  that  God  has  more 
arrows  in  his  quiver,  and  can  bring  another  judg- 
ment without  bringing  another  fire. 

Now  this  should  engage  us  all  to  have  our  eye 
toward  the  Lord,  by  faith  to  dwell  in  the  secret 
place  of  the  Most  High,  and  abide  under  the  shadow 
of  the  Almighty  ;•  and  by  prayer  every  morning  and 
every  evening,  to  put  ourselves,  our  houses  and  fa- 
milies, under  dt%'ine  protection,  and  to  beg  that  the 
city  may  be  the  care  of  God's  providence  in  a  par- 
ticular manner,  and  the  charge  of  his  angels,  as  Jeru- 
salem of  old  was.  O  that  this  argument  migbt  pre- 
vail with  you,  to  set  up  and  keep  up  the  worship  of 
God  in  your  families,  and  to  make  a  business  of  it, 
that  though  I  cannot  assure  you  that  it  will  preserve 

•  P>.  zci.  1. 


FIRE  OF  LONDON. 


QAfk 


yoa  from  yoar  share  in  common  calamities  of  this  kind, 
all  tbin^  come  alike  to  all,  yet  it  is  the  best  course 
>oa  can  take  to  be  safe  and  easy ;  with  what  a  holy 
aecarity  may  yoa  lie  down  at  night,  and  go  abroad  in 
the  momiogywhen  yoa  have  first  solemnly  recommend- 
ed yoorselves  and  yoars  to  the  mercy  of  God,  and 
taken  the  way  which  he  has  appointed  to  engage  him 
for  yoa.  Sach  is  the  comfort  of  doing  this,  such  the 
satisfaction  of  having  done  it,  that  we  may  well  call 
it  work  that  is  its  own  wages.  If  yoa  make  yoar 
booses  little  charches  for  God,  he  will  make  them 
little  sanctuaries  to  yoa,  and  create  a  defence  upon 
all  yoar  glory/ 

Yoa  have  yoar  engines,  yoar  watchmen,  yoar  in- 
sarances,  hat  after  all.  Except  the  Lord  keep  the  city, 
the  watchman  waketh  but  m  vatii.r  It  is  therefore  your 
great  concern  to  make  him  your  friend,  and  to  keep 
yourselves  in  his  love ;  to  secure  the  favour  of  the 
Roler  of  rulers,  from  whom  every  man's  judgment 
proceeds.!^  He  has  put  you  into  an  easy  way  of 
doing  this,  not  hy  costly  sacrifices  and  ofierings,  but 
by  faithful  and  fervent  prayer,  kept  up  in  its  life, 
and  not  sunk  into  a  formality. 

Neither  pray  ye  for  yourselves  alone,  and  for  your 
hoases,  bat  for  the  city,  and  parts  adjoining,  that  in 
the  safety  thereof  you  may  be  safe.  Thus  approve 
yourselves  true  friends  to  the  city,  and  seek  the  wel- 
fare of  it.  Yoa  are  for  conscience  sake  toward  God, 
rendered  incapable  of  serving  the  city  in  any  civil 
offices,  serve  it  so  much  the  more  with  your  prayers, 
serve  it  in  sacred  ofiices,  as  intercessors  with  God 
for  it ;  and  thank  God  you  cannot  be  hindered  from 
serving  it  in  this  way. 

Nor  is  it  enough  to  keep  prayer  up  in  your  houses, 
but  you  must  do  what  you  can  to  keep  sin  out  of 
}oar  houses,  lest  that  spoil  the  success  of  your 
prayers.  If  iniquity  be  in  thine  hand,  any  ill-got 
gain,  or  any  ill  way  of  getting,  put  it  far  away,  and 
ht  no  wickedness  dwell  in  thy  tabernacles,  and  then 
thou  shalt  take  thy  rest  in  safety,  thou  shalt  lie  down, 
end  none  shall  make  thee  afraid,^  And  do  what  you 
can,  in  your  places,  to  suppress  wickedness  in  the 
city,  and  to  promote  the  reformation  of  manners,  that 
the  city  may  be  called  a  city  of  righteousness,  a  faith- 
ful city,  which  God  may  delight  to  dwell  in. 

IX.  See  what  a  dreadful  d^y  the  great  day  of  the 
Lord  will  be,  when  the  world  shall  be  on  fire,  and  the 
earth,  and  all  the  works  that  are  therein,  shall  be 
burnt  up.  If  the  burning  of  London  was  so  terrible, 
what  then  will  the  burning  of  the  world  be,  the  whole 
world  ?  When  the  heavens  being  on  fire  shall  be  dis- 
t9lved^  and  the  elements  shall  melt  with  fervent  heat, 
and  all  these  things  shall  be  dissolved.^  The  volcano s, 
or  burning  mountains,  in  Naples  and  Sicily,  and 
many  other  places,  which  have  been  on  fire  as  long 
as  we  have  any  history  of  those  countries  extant,  are 


f  I»  iv.  5^  6L  r  Ps.  cxxvii.  1. 

I  Job  xi.  14, 18, 19. 

3  I 


h  Prov.  zxv.  36. 
k  3  Pet  iii.  13. 


sometimes  very  terrible,  and  the  eruptions  of  fire 
from  them  very  threatening :  surely  Providence  has 
wisely  ordered  those  little  conflagrations  of  the  earth, 
to  be  earnests  of  the  general  conflagration,  and 
standing,  sensible  confirmations  of  the  Scripture 
tradition  of  it ;  nay,  some  have  thought,  that  they 
will  be  in  part  the  means  of  the  burning  of  this 
world ;  so  Dr.  Tho.  Burnet,  in  that  part  of  his  '*  The- 
ory of  the  Earth,"  which  treats  De  eonfiagraiione 
mundi — Of  the  conflagration  of  the  world ;  Extemus 
est  et  visibilis  apparatus  ad  hoc  ineendium,  in  montibus 
ignivomis — There  is  evidently  a  provision  in  the  fiery 
mountains  for  this  desolation.  And  he  quotes  a  re- 
markable passage  of  Pliny,  (1.  ii.  c.  106,  107.)  when 
he  had  reckoned  up  several  burning  mountains,  &c. 
he  concludes,  Excedit  profecio  omnia  miracula,  uUum 
diemfuisse,  in  quo  non  euncia  confiagrarent — It  is  a  mi- 
racle tliat  the  world  is  not  on  fire  every  day.  Why  should 
it  seem  incredible  to  us  then,  that  it  will  be  on  ^re 
shortly?  Believe  it,  sirs,  as  sure  as  you  see  this  day, 
you  shall  see  that  day.  And  where  will  all  the  wealth 
and  pride  of  this  world  be  then  ?  What  will  become 
of  us,  if  we  have  all  our  portion  and  happiness  in  it? 

Think  of  the  fire  in  which  the  Lord  Jesus  will  be 
revealed  in  that  day,  the  flaming  fire,'  the  fire  that 
will  devour  before  him  ;■"  he  will  come  with  an  innu- 
merable company  of  angels,  and  every  one  of  those 
spirits  is  aflame  of  fire.''  What  flames  then  will  the 
Judge  be  surrounded  with !  Think  how  you  will  look 
him  in  the  face  in  that  great  and  terrible  day,  and 
and  how  your  works  will  abide  that  fire.  Those  who 
lived  and  died  in  sin,  will  then  call  in  vain  to  rocks 
and  mountains  to  hide  them  from  the  face  of  him  that 
sits  on  the  throne,  and  the  wrath  of  the  Lamb ;  but 
those  who  lived  and  died  in  Christ,  will  see  no  terror, 
no,  not  in  that  fire,  but  will  then  lift  up  their  heads 
with  joy,  knowing  that  their  redemption  draws  nigh. 

Nay,  there  is  a  fire  yet  more  dreadful,  which  you 
are  concerned  to  think  of.  The  earth,  and  the  works 
that  are  therein,  will  soon  be  burnt  up  ;  but  there  is 
a  lake  of  fire  and  brimstone,  which  burns  eternally, 
and  shall  never  be  quenched,  prepared  indeed  for 
the  devil  and  his  angels,  bat  into  which  all  the 
wicked  and  ungodly  shall  be  cast,  by  the  irrevers- 
ible sentence  of  the  righteous  Judge,  and  in  which 
they  shall  be  tormented  world  without  end.  I  am 
here  in  God's  name  to  give  you  warning  to  flee  from 
that  wrath  to  come,**  by  fleeing  from  sin,  by  fleeing 
to  Christ;  and  whether  you  will  hear,  or  whether 
you  will  forbear,  to  testify  unto  you,  that  you  come 
not  to  that  place  of  torment ;  and  if  you  hear  not, 
if  you  heed  not,  Moses  and  the  prophets,  Christ  and 
his  ministers,  giving  you  this  warning,  neither 
would  ye  be  persuaded,  though  one  rose  from  the 
dead.p 


1  3  Then.  i.  ». 

e  Matt.  iii.  6. 


n  Ps.  1.  3. 


o  P».  civ.  4. 
P  Luke  xvi.  38, 31. 


A  BRIEF  INQUIRY  INTO 


THE  TRUE  NATURE  OF  SCHISM : 


OR 


A  PERSUASIVE  TO  CHRISTIAN  LOVE  AND  CHARITY. 


There  is  scarce  any  odc  thing  that  has  been  dis- 
cussed  in  the  Christian  world  with  more  heat  and 
noise  among  the  scYcral  dividing  parties,  than  the 
charge  of  schism.  This  has  involved  the  disputing 
part  of  the  church  in  the  most  violent  engagements 
above  twelve  hundred  years.  Schism  is  so  deform- 
ed a  brat,  that  nobody  has  been  willing  to  own  it,  a 
crime  so  very  black,  that  each  party  has  been  studi- 
ously industrious  to  clear  itself  from  the  charge.  To 
this  indictment  all  have  pleaded  Not  guilty  ;  and  we 
find  none  that  have  justified  it  But  here  is  the 
misery ;  such  notions  of  it  have  been  entertained, 
that  it  has  been  almost  impossible  to  deny,  without  re- 
criminating. And  perhaps  the  most  guilty  have  been 
most  hot  in  charging  others.  Athaliah,  the  greatest 
traitor,  is  most  loud  in  crying,  Treatouj  treaton. 

We  are  all  agreed  that  schism  is  an  arch-rebel  in 
Christ's  kingdom ;  but  in  sending  out  the  hue  and 
cry  after  it,  the  difiiculty  is,  how  to  describe  it.  Se- 
veral attempts  have  been  made ;  would  it  be  in  vain 
to  try  one  more  ?  Waving  all  inquiries  into  the  se- 
veral definitions  an^i  descriptions  which  have  been 
given  of  it,  let  us  have  recourse  to  the  law  and  to 
the  testimony ;  for  whoever  speak  in  the  things  of 
God,  (as  they  certainly  do  who  speak  of  sin  and 
duty,)  if  they  speak  not  according  to  that  rule,  it  is 
because  there  is  no  light  in  them. 

Therefore  I  only  premise  this  one  postulatum,  that 
nothing  is  to  be  accounted  sin,  but  that  which  is 
made  so  by  the  word  of  God :  Tekel  is  to  be  written 
upon  nothing  but  that  which  has  been  carefully 
weighed  in  the  balances  of  the  sanctuary. 

In  our  inquiry  what  b  sin,  let  those  books  be 
opened  which  must  be  opened  at  the  great  day.  If 
sinners  must  be  judged  by  those  books  shortly,  let  sin 
be  judged  by  them  now,  and  let  not  any  man  or 
company  of  men  in  the  world,  assume  a  power  to  de- 


clare that  to  be  sin,  which  the  Sovereign  Rector  of 
the  world  has  not  declared  to  be  so,  lest  in  so  doing 
they  be  found  stepping  into  the  throne  of  God,  who 
is  a  jealous  God,  and  will  not  give  this  branch  uf 
his  glory  to  another. 

Let  us  therefore  see  what  the  Scripture  says  con- 
cerning schism;  not  concerning  the  evil  of  it,  we 
are  convinced  of  that,  but  concerning  the  nature 
and/brma/i>  ratio — due  meaning  of  it 

The  Old  Testament  will  not  help  us  so  mach  in 
this  inquiry  as  the  New ;  for  as  to  the  bindini^  of 
Jews  to  worship  only  in  one  place,  at  Jerusalem,  and 
to  ofier  only  upon  that  altar,  it  was  a  precept  purely 
ceremonial,  and  to  us  Christians  is  vacated  by  that 
gospel  rule,  which  wills  us  to  pray  every  where,  and 
their  synagogues  then  (not  their  temple)  were  the 
patterns  of  Christian  assemblies. 

Only  one  scripture  occurs  in  the  Old  Testament, 
which,  perhaps,  will  help  to  rectify  some  mistakes 
about  schism.  It  is  the  instance  of  Eldad  and  Mc- 
dad,  who  prophesied  in  the  camp.  The  case  in  short 
is  this,  Eldad  and  Medad  were  persons  upon  lirhom 
Me  Spirit  rested,  that  is,  who  were  by  the  extraordi- 
nary working  of  the  Spirit  endued  with  gifts  equal 
to  the  rest  of  the  seventy  elders,  and  were  wrrittem^ 
that  is,  had  a  call  to  the  work,  but  they  went  not  out 
unto  the  tabernacle  as  the  rest  did,  though  God  himsel  f 
had  appointed  that  they  should,  Numb,  xu  26.  And 
they  propheiied  in  the  eampy  that  is,  exercised  their 
gifts  in  private  among  their  neighbours  in  some  com- 
mon tent.  Upon  what  inducements  they  did  this, 
does  not  appear,  but  it  is  evident  that  it  was  their 
weakness  and  infirmity  thus  to  separate  from  the  rest 
of  their  brethren.  If  any  think  they  prophesied  by  a 
necessitating  and  irresistible  impulse,  they  n»ay  re- 
member that  the  spirit  of  the  prophets  is  eub/eri  to 
the  prophets** 


•  I  Coc  xiv  39l 


THE  NATURE  OF  SCHISM. 


851 


Now  if  some  of  the  schismaticating  doctors  that 
the  charch  had  known,  had  but  had  the  censuring; 
of  Eldad  and  Medad,  we  should  soon  have  had  a 
judgment  f^ven  against  them,  much  more  severe 
than  would  have  been  awarded  to  him  who  gathered 
sticks  on  the  sabbath-day. 

And  it  is  confessed,  all  the  circumstances  con- 
sidered, it  looks  like  a  very  great  irregularity,  espe- 
cially as  an  infringement  of  the  authority  of  Moses, 
which  they  who  prophesied  in  the  tabernacle  under 
his  presidency  manifestly  owned,  and  submitted  to. 
Well,  an  information  was  presently  brought  in 
against  them,  v.  27.  Eidad  and  Medad  prophesied 
IK  the  camp,  that  is,  to  speak  in  the  invidious  lan- 
guage of  the  times,  there  is  a  conventicle  at  such  a 
place,  and  Eldad  and  Medad  are  holding  forth  at  it. 
Joshua,  in  bis  zeal  for  that  which  he  fancied  to 
be  the  church's  unity,  and  out  of  concern  for  the 
authority  of  Moses,  brings  in  a  bill  to  silence  them; 
for  as  hot  as  he  was,  he  would  not  have  them  fined 
and  laid  in  the  gaol  for  this  disorder,  neither ;  only, 
my  lord  Moses,  forbid  them  ;  not  compel  them  to 
come  to  the  tabernacle,  if  they  be  not  satisfied  to 
come,  only,  for  the  future,  prohibit  their  schisma- 
tical  preaching  in  the  camp.    This  seems  a  veiy 
good  notion. 

But  hold,  Joehua,  tkou  knowett  not  what  manner 
of  spirit  thou  art  of,  Discerqing  Moses  sees  him 
actuated  by  a  spirit  of  envy,  and  does  not  only 
deny,  but  severely  reprove,  the  motion.  Numb.  xi.  29. 
Etniett  thou  for  my  eahe?  Would  to  God  that 
all  the  Lord's  people  were  prophets,  provided  the 
Lord  will  bnt  put  his  Spirit  vpon  them.  He  is  so 
far  from  looking  upon  it  as  schism,  that  he  does  not 
only  tolerate,  but  encourage  it  And  O  that  all 
those  who  sit  in  Moses's  chair,  were  bnt  clothed 
with  this  spirit  of  Moses. 

This  instance  is  full  enough  to  show,  that  all  is 
not  schism,  which  even  vrise  and  good  men  are  apt 
to  think  is  so. 

But  our  special  inquiry  must  be  in  the  New  Tes- 
tament ;  and  forasmuch  as  words  are  the  significa- 
tion of  things,  let  us  see  what  the  Scripture  means 
by  this  word  schism. 

The  critics  observe,  that  the  Greek  word  l^x^oiita 
is  used  eight  times  in  the  New  Testament. 

1.  In  a  literal  sense,  for  a  rent  in  a  garment,  '^x^opa, 
the  rent  is  made  worse.  In  the  same  sense  Sx'C**  ^^ 
used.  As  also  of  the  rending  of  the  vail.  The 
cleaving  of  the  heavens.**  But  this  makes  little  to 
oor  purpose. 

2.  It  is  used  figuratively  for  a  division ;  and  that 
twofold.* 

(I.)  A  division  in  apprehension;  so  Tx^f'^^  >" 
Qsed.  In  which  places  it  signifies  the  different 
thoughts  and  apprehensions  that  the  people  or  their 

^  Matt  ix  l&  Mark  li.  21.  John  six.  34.  Luke  v.  36.  Matt. 
uTii.  31.     Johnxxl.  II.      Mark  1.  10. 

3  1  2 


rulers  had  concerning  Christ,  some  thinking  well 
of  him,  others  not.  Some  accusing  him,  others  ex- 
cusing him. 

In  this  sense  'Sx'^^  ^^  used,  for  the  different  senti- 
ments the  people  had  concerning  Paul.' 

Now  this  diversity  of  opinion,  judgment,  or  appre- 
hension, cannot  be  called  or  looked  upon  in  itself 
as  a  thing  criminal,  inasmuch  as  there  are  many 
things  which  either  because  they  are  dark  and  ob- 
scure, and  so  not  capable  of  demonstraition,  or  be- 
cause they  are  trivial  and  of  light  moment,  and  so 
not  worth  a  demonstration,  it  is  no  matter  what 
opinion  men  are  of  concerning  them. 

Only  where  the  matter  is  weighty,  and  touches 
the  fundamentals  of  Christianity,  there  an  error  is 
criminal,  and  if  stubbornly  persisted  in,  is  heresy. 

But  the  evil  of  it  lies  not  in  the  diversity,  but  in 
the  erroneousness  and  danger  of  the  opinion. 

I  cannot  believe  that  the  greatest  worshippers  of 
the  Diana  of  their  own  opinions,  will  be  so  sottish 
as  to  brand  those  for  schismatics,  who  in  every 
punctilio  of  opinion  are  not  exactly  of  the  same 
standard  vri th  themselves. 

If  there  be  any  so  strangely  "rigid,  let  not  my 
soul  come  into  their  secret,  for  I  despair  to  see  even 
all  the  saints  of  a  mind,  in  every  thing,  till  they 
come  to  heaven. 

It  does  therefore  evidence  too  great  a  strangeness 
to  the  spirit  of  the  gospel,  to  condemn  all  those 
who  differ  from  us  only  in  their  apprehensions 
about  little  things.  John's  disciples  were  greatly 
displeased  because  Christ's  disciples  did  not  fast 
so  often  as  they  did,  and  quarrelled  with  Christ 
himself  about  it.  And  the  answer  of  the  meek  and 
holy  Jesus  is  worthy  remark,  that  he  gives  a  good 
reason  why  his  disciples  did  not  fast,  viz.  Be- 
cause the  bridegroom  was  yet  with  them  ;  and  yet 
does  not  condemn  John's  disciples  that  fasted  often : 
which  teaches  us  not  to  make  our  own  opinions  and 
practices  (like  Procrustes's  bed)  the  standard  by 
which  to  measure  all  others ;  and  that  in  such  cases 
we  are  to  think  it  sufficient  only  to  acquit  ourselves, 
first  to  our  own  consciences,  and  then  if  need  be  to 
the  world,  without  condemning  others,  who  think 
and  practise  otherwise  in  such  little  things,  and 
perhaps  have  as  much  reason  for  their  thoughts 
and  practices  as  we  have  for  ours. 

(2.)  A  division  in  affiection :  and  in  this  sense  it 
IS  used  three  times  in  the  first  epistle  to  the  Cor- 
inthians, and  no  where  else  in  all  the  New  Testa- 
ment 

We  must  particularly  examine  each  place,  that 
thence  we  may  be  furnished  with  a  true  notion  of 
schism :  and  in  plain  terms,  the  case  is  whether  a 
diversity  (or,  if  you  call  it  so,  a  separation)  of  com- 
munion be  the/ortfiff/M  ratio — due  meaning  of  schism. 

•  John  vif.  43.   John  ix.  le.   John  x.  19. 
d  Acts  xxiii.  7. 


852 


THE  NATURE  OF  SCHISM. 


I  find  the  word,  and  with  it,  no  doubt,  the  thing, 
I  beseech  you  brethren — that  there  be  no  divisions 
(J^xifffiaTa)  no  schisms  among  you ;  so  reads  the  mar- 
gin of  our  Bibles. 

Now  to  find  oat  what  this  schism  is,  let  as  inqaire 
into  the  exegetical  exhortations  that  accompany  it. 

[I.]  That  ye  all  speah  the  same  things,  viz.  in  the 
fundamental  doctrines  of  Christianity  ;  for  in  little 
things  it  can  never  be  made  a  duty  to  be  of  the  same 
opinion,  since  it  is  morally  impossible,  but  (as  Estius 
seems  to  understand  it)  not  to  break  Christian  cha- 
rity in  your  disputes  about  them. 

Observe,  he  does  not  oblige  us  to  think  the  same 
thing,  but  though  your  thoughts  be  divers,  yet  speak 
the  same  thing,  that  is,  in  your  preaching  and  con- 
versation, speak  of  those  things  only  wherein  you 
are  agreed  ;  and  for  those  things  wherein  yon  differ, 
do  not  fall  out  and  fight  about  them,  but  love  one 
another  notwithstanding. 

[2.]  That  ye  be  perfectly  joined  together  in  the 
same  mind  and  in  the  same  judgment.  Which  must 
be  understood  of  a  serious  endeavour  after  it ;  for 
otherwise  a  perfect  conjunction  must  be  reserved  for 
a  world  of  everlasting  perfection. 

But  the  meaning  of  the  exhortation  seems  to  be, 
that  all  their  little  heats  and  animosities  should  be 
swallowed  up  in  an  unanimous  zeal  for  the  great 
gospel  truths,  wherein  they  were  all  agreed. 

We  must  inquire  also  into  the  Corinthians'  mis- 
carriage, which  occasioned  this  caution,  which  you 
have,  1  Cor.  i.  11, 12.  there  were  contentions  among 
them,  V.  11.  tpiii^.  So  that  schisms  and  contentions 
are  one  and  the  same  thing,  and  it  is  worth  noting, 
that  Clemens  Romanus,  in  that  famous  epistle  of  his 
to  the  Corinthians,  still  calls  schisms  ipc^cc — conten- 
tions' 

Now  the  contention  was  about  their  ministers ; 
I  am  of  Paul,  says  one  ;  I  am  of  Apollos,  says  an- 
other, &c.  Now  he  who  was  of  Apollos  was  as 
much  a  schismatic,  as  he  who  was  of  Paul,  because 
they  quarrelled  and  fell  out  about  so  small  and  in- 
different a  matter. 

Observe,  it  was  not  so  much  being  of  Paul  and 
being  of  Apollos  that  made  the  schism;  for  Paul,  and 
Apollos,  and  Cephas  were  all  theirs,  (chap,  iii.  22.) 
but  saying,  /  am  of  Paul,  that  is,  crying  him  up  as  the 
only  man  for  them,  so  as  to  despise  others.  If  one 
went  to  hear  Paul,  and  another  went  to  hear  Apol- 
los, that  did  not  make  a  schism,  no,  nor  if  one  com- 
municate with  Paul,  and  another  with  Apollos  ;  for 
why  might  not  each  go  where  he  could  be  most  edi- 
fied ?  But  the  schism  was,  that  they  sacrificed  Chris- 
tian love  and  charity  to  this  difference  of  apprehen- 
sion. This  is  evident  in  that  those  who  said,  I  am 
of  Christ,  so  as  to  despise  and  censure,  and  quarrel 
with  them  that  said  I  am  of  Paul,  ^c.  are  reproved 
equally  with  the  rest. 


Now  the  way  of  curing  this  schism  was  not  to 
silence  Apollos  and  Cephas,  that  whether  they  would 
or  no  they  might  all  be  of  Paul ;  nay,  it  is  well  worth 
the  observing  that  in  the  same  epistle  we  find  Paul 
very  earnest  with  Apollos  to  go  to  Corinth,  (xvi.  12.) 
As  touching  Apollos,  I  greatly  desired  him  to  come  to 
you.  Which  he  never  would  have  done,  if  he  had 
not  preferred  the  common  interest  of  souls'  salvation 
before  his  own  credit. 

But  the  way  to  cure  this  was  to  convince  them  of 
the  folly  of  the  quarrels,  how  senseless  and  irrational 
they  were ;  and  to  persuade  them  to  lay  aside  their 
enmities  and  heart-burnings,  and  to  love  one  another, 
and  to  walk  hand  in  hand  in  the  same  way  though 
they  traced  different  paths,  which  they  might  well 
do  when  the  paths  lay  so  very  near  together. 
^  By  this  instance  it  appears,  that  narrow-spirited- 
ness  which  confines  religion  and  the  church  to  our 
way  and  party,  whatever  it  is,  to  the  condemning  of 
others  who  differ  from  us  in  little  things,  is  the  great 
schismatising  principle,  which  has  been  so  much  the 
bane  of  the  Christian  church ;  Hinc  iUw  iMcrymet — 
hence  her  sorrows* 

We  find  the  word  used,  I  hear  there  he  Zxur/uira — 
divisions  among  you,  1  Cor.  xi.  18. 

It  is  undeniably  evident  that  it  cannot  be  meant 
of  any  breach  of  communion,  for  it  is  said  expressly 
{v.  20.)  that  they  came  together  in  one  place,  and  that 
into  the  church  too,  that  is,  the  place  of  meeting. 

But  the  schisms  were  quarrels  and  contentions 
about  some  little  things  relating  to  the  circumstances 
of  public  worship ;  and  the  quarrel  seems  to  have 
been  about  the  time  of  beginning  their  worship, 
especially  when  they  were  to  join  in  the  Lord's  sup- 
per, or  their  love-feasts :  it  seems  they  did  not  come 
exactly  at  the  time,  therefore  the  apostle  bids  them 
tarry  one  for  another,  v.  33.  Those  who  came  early 
quarrelled  with  those  who  came  late,  for  coming  no 
sooner ;  and  those  who  came  late  quarrelled  with  the 
other,  for  beginning  before  they  came. 

Some  quarrels  of  this  kind  were  the  schisms  here 
spoken  of. 

The  word  is  used,  that  there  he  no  schism  in  the 
body.*  The  apostle  is  there  carrying  on  a  metaphor 
betwixt  the  natural  body,  and  the  church ;  and  this 
clause  clearly  relates  to  the  natural  body,  for  he  does 
not  come  to  the  reddition  of  the  comparison  till  r.  27. 

Now,  what  he  means  by  the  schism  in  the  body,  is 
plain  from  the  antithesis  in  the  following  words — 
But  that  the  members  should  have  the  same  care  one 
for  another.  So  that  when  the  members  care  not  one 
for  another,  when  the  eye  says  to  the  band,  I  have 
no  need  of  thee ;  («.  21.)  when  there  is  not  a  sym- 
pathy and  fellow-feeling  among  Christians,  («.  26.) 
here  is  schism. 

That  is  schism  which  breaks  or  slackens  the  bond 
by  which  the  members  are  knit  together. 

•  I  Cor.  xii.  95. 


THE  NATURE  OF  SCHISM. 


853 


Now,  that  bond  is  not  an  act  of  aniformity  in 
point  of  comma nion,  in  the  same  modes  and  cere- 
monies ;  but  tme  loye  and  charity  in  point  of  affec- 
tion. It  is  charity  that  is  the  b<nui  of  peffectnesM :' 
it  is  the  anity  of  the  Spirit  that  is  the  band  qfpeae€f* 
and  schism  is  that  which  breaks  this  bond. 

Now  from  all  this  laid  together,  I  draw  out  this 
description  of  schism,  which,  according  to  my  present 
apprehensions,  is  the  tnie  scripture  notion  of  it. 

"  Schism  is  an  ancharitable  distance,  diyision,  or 
alienation  of  affection  among  those  who  are  called 
Christians,  and  agree  in  the  fundamentals  of  reli- 
gion, occasioned  by  their  different  apprehensions 
about  little  things." 

This  is  the  schism  which  the  Scripture  makes  to 
be  a  sin,  and  by  Scripture  rules  it  must  be  judged. 
Schism  (as  indeed  the  root  of  all  other  sin)  we  see 
lies  in  the  heart  and  affections.  The  tree  is  known 
by  its  fruits.  The  bitter  root  bears  gall  and  worm- 
wood. Let  us  therefore  take  a  short  view  of  those 
practices,  which,  according  to  this  description,  are 
schismatical  practices. 

1.  Judging,  censuring,  and  condemning  those 
who  differ  from  as  in  little  things,  is  a  schismatical 
practice,  as  it  evidences  a  great  alienation,  if  not 
enmity,  of  the  affections.  Charity  thinketh  no  evil^ 
w  XaydUrm  to  mamtP — doe*  not  reason  evil^  does  not 
stody  to  make  sins,  but  cover  them ;  and  if  they  be 
made,  yet  not  to  make  the  worst  of  them,  it  puts 
the  best  construction  upon  words  and  actions. 

Now  to  pass  a  censorious  judgment  upon  others, 
and  to  put  the  worst  construction  upon  what  they 
say  and  do,  is  certainly  uncharitable,  that  is,  schis- 
matical. It  is  a  practice  often  condemned  in  Holy 
Writ ;  Judge  not,  that  ye  he  not  judged  ^  it  is  con- 
strned  9i  judging  of  the  law} 

It  is  especially  coiidemned  with  reference  to  the 
present  case,  of  different  apprehensions  about  little 
things,  in  that  famous  scripture,  (Rom.  xiv.  4,  6.)  a 
scripture,  which,  if  well  studied  and  lived  up  to, 
would  heal  us  all.  Judging  the  heart  is,  in  my 
estimation,  one  of  the  most  uncharitable  species  of 
judging.  Censuring  the  principles  and  ends  of  an 
action,  which  are  secret,  charging  those  who  differ 
from  us  with  hypocrisy,  is  a  heart  sin.  If  the  appear- 
aoee  be  good,  and  the  outside  be  justifiable,  when 
we  conclude  hypocrisy  is  in  the  heart,  we  step  into 
the  throne  of  God. 

2.  Laying  a  greater  stress  upon  small  matters  of 
difference  than  they  will  bear,  and  widening  the 
breach  about  them.  As  on  the  one  hand,  to  censure 
all  prayers  by  a  form,  or  by  this  form  in  particular, 
as  superstition,  will-worship,  formality,  and  the  like : 
OD  the  other  band,  to  censure  all  extempore  praying 
as  babbling,  canting,  froth,  and  noise,  as  if  God  had 
not  accepted  his  own  people  in  the  one  as  well  as 


f  CoL  iii.  14. 


f  Eph.  tf.  3. 


the  other.  The  fastening  of  a  censure,  and  passing 
of  a  judgment  upon  a  whole  party  and  way,  if  it  be 
not  very  clear  and  well-grounded  indeed,  will  be 
likely  to  split  us  upon  the  rock  of  schism  and  un- 
charitableness. 

3.  Concluding  hardly  as  to  the  spiritual  state  and 
condition  of  those  who  differ  from  us,  excluding 
them  out  of  the  church,  and  from  salvation,  because 
they  are  not  just  of  our  mind  in  every  punctilio. 

Witness  that  notion  which  excludes  out  of  the 
church,  and  consequently  out  of  heaven,  all  those 
(how  orthodox  and  serious  soever  they  are  other- 
wise) who  are  not  in  prelatical  communion ;  if  no 
diocesan  bishops,  then  no  ministers,  no  sacraments, 
no  church,  no  salvation ;  which  is  certainly  the  most 
schismatical  notion  that  ever  was  broached  in  the 
Christian  world. 

4.  Reproaching,  reviling,  and  railing  at  those 
who  differ  from  us  in  little  things,  is  another  schis- 
matical practice ;  fastening  such  nick-names  upon 
them,  and  loading  them  with  such  reproaches,  as 
carry  in  them  all  the  odium  that  malice  can  infuse 
into  them ;  dressing  them  up  in  bears'  skins,  and 
then  baiting  them,  doing  what  we  can  by  calumnies 
and  misrepresentations,  to  alienate  the  affections  of 
others  from  them. 

5.  Making,  consenting  to,  approving,  or  execut- 
ing of  penal  laws  against  those  who  differ  from  us 
in  little  things,  to  punish  them  for  such  difference 
in  their  persons,  estates,  or  liberties,  is  another  un- 
charitable or  schismatical  practice. 

This  is  contention  with  a  witness ;  which  aims  at 
no  less  than  the  ruin  of  a  person  contended  with, 
in  the  dearest  of  his  secular  interests ;  to  beat  out 
his  brains,  because  his  head  is  not  exactly  of  our 
size. 

6.  Separation  from  communion  with  those  that  we 
have  joined  ourselves  to,  without  cause ;  give  me 
leave  to  call  it  separation  for  separation  sake,  with- 
out any  regard  had  to  any  thing  amiss  in  the  church 
we  separate  from,  or  any  thing  better  in  that  we 
join  ourselves  to.  This  is  an  evidence  of  an  un- 
charitable alienation  of  affection,  and  is  consequent- 
ly schismatical,  wh^n  we  quite  cast  off  communion 
with  our  brethren,  out  of  ambition,  animosity  to 
their  persons,  affectation  of  novelty  and  singularity, 
or  the  like. 

This  was  manifestly  the  case  of  the  Donatists, 
the  infamous  schismatics  of  the  primitive  church. 
Their  principles  were,  that  the  church  of  Christ  was 
to  be  found  no  where  but  in  their  sect,  and  all  other 
churches  were  no  churches ;  that  true  baptism  was 
not  administered  but  among  them  ;  and  a  great 
many  barbaious  outrages  they  committed  in  the  heat 
of  their  separation. 

7.  An  affected  strangeness,  or  distance  in  commu- 


h  aiatt.  vii.  1. 


1  James  iv.  il,  12. 


854 


THE  NATURE  OF  SCHISM. 


nion  or  conversation,  from  those  who  thus  differ 
from  us,  upon  the  account  of  such  difference,  avoid- 
ing conversation  and  familiarity  with  them,  carrying 
it  strangely  towards  them,  only  because  they  do  not 
wear  the  dividing  name  of  our  party. 

This  evidences  an  uncharitable  alienation  of  affec- 
tion prevailing  in  the  heart,  and  is  consequently 
schismatical. 

Many  such  like  practices  might  easily  be  men- 
tioned, if  it  were  needful;  but  they  are  obvious 
enough,  especially  if  we  look  into  the  laws  of  cha- 
rity :  (1  Cor.  xiii.  4 — ^7.)  and  remember  that  all  trans- 
gression of  those  laws  is  uncharitableness,  and  when 
that  is  found  in  the  things  of  religion,  it  is  schism. 
The  corollary  from  the  whole  is  this,  that  whoever 
they  be  that  allow  themselves  in  these  and  the  like 
practices  and  affections  towards  their  brethren,  who 
differ  from  them  in  little  things,  whether  they  be 
Episcopal,  Presbyterian,  Independent,  or  by  what 
name  or  title  soever  they  are  self-dignified  and  dis- 
tinguished, they  are  so  far  schismatical,  inasmuch  as 
they  break  the  great  law  of  Christian  charity. 

Let  us  now  try  what  inference  may  be  drawn  from 
the  Scripture  notion  of  schism. 

1.  If  this  be  schism,  then  is  it  not  within  the  line 
of  any  human  power  to  make  that  separation  to  be 
schismatical,  which  was  not  so  in  itself.  By  the 
description  given  of  schism,  it  does  appear  to  be  a 
thing,  malum  in  Me — evil  in  ittelf,  which  was  not  so 
before ;  an  attempt  of  that  kind  would  sink  with  its 
own  weight.  And  therefore  it  is  well  worthy  obser- 
vation, that  when  the  parliament  made  a  law  against 
conventicles,  (which  are  the  great  schismatical  eye- 
sores,) they  called  it  an  act  to  prevent  and  suppress 
seditious  conventicles,  knowing  it  to  be  within  their 
line  to  declare  a  thing  to  be  sedition ;  but  not  schis- 
matical conventicles,  for  that  was  a  thing  in  which 
they  could  not  concern  themselves. 

2.  If  this  be  schism,  then  the  guilt  of  it  is  to  be 
looked  for  in  particular  persons,  and  is  not  to  be 
charged  by  wholesale  upon  parties  of  any  denomina- 
tion whatsoever ;  as  among  us  at  this  day  in  the  pre- 
latical  party  there  are  some  schismatical,  and  others 
not ;  and  the  same  is  to  be  said  of  the  separating 
party ;  nay,  who  is  there  who  can  say,  *'  I  have  made 
my  heart  clean,  I  am  pure  from  this  sin  ?"  Have  we 
not  all  need  to  pray.  From  envy,  hatred,  and  malicey 
and  all  uncharitableness,  (which  are  the  ingredients 
of  schism,)  jTood  Lord,  deliver  us,  both  from  the  guilty 
and  from  the  power,  of  it  ?  It  is  not  so  much  our 
differences  themselves,  as  the  mismanagement  of  our 
differences,  that  is  the  bane  of  the  church,  burning 
up  Christian  love  with  the  fire  of  our  contentions. 

Whence  come  these  wars  and  fightings  ?  Come  they 
not  hence,  even  from  our  lusts  ?  ^  And  those  who  say 
they  are  perfectiy  free  from  these  warfaring  schis- 

k  Jam.  iv.  I. 


matic  lusts,  must  give  me  leave  to  say,  I  doubt  they 
deceive  themselves,  and  the  truth  is  not  in  them. 

3.  If  this  be  schism,  then  there  may  be  schism 
where  there  is  no  separation  of  communion ;  that  is 
plain  from  the  instance  of  the  Corinthians,  who  came 
together  into  one  place,  and  yet  are  blamed  for  being 
schismatical.  Bringing  people  to  one  place  will 
never  cure  a  schism,  till  they  are  brought  to  be  of 
one  accord. 

Yon  may  bind  the  leopard,  and  lay  him  down  by 
the  lamb,  and  yet  the  enmity  remain  as  great  as  ever, 
except  there  be  ai^  inward  change. 

A  quarrel  about  little  things  may  likewise  be 
schismatical  -on  one  side,  and  not  on  the  other.  Je- 
remiah was  a  man  of  strife  and  contention,^  that  is,  a 
man  striven  and  contended  with,  and  yet  no  schis- 
matic ;  though  ordinarily  (as  it  is  commonly  said  of 
domestic  differences)  there  are  faults  more  or  less 
on  both  sides. 

4.  If  this  be  schism,  then  there  may  be  separation 
of  communion  where  there  is  no  schism.  For  thus 
we  all  agree,  that  there  may  be  a  difference  of  ap- 
prehension, and  yet  no  schism ;  provided  it  do  not 
eat  out  Christian  love,  but  be  managed  amicably,  as 
between  the  Arminians  and  Calvinists,  in  the  chureh 
of  England,  and  divers  the  like. 

Now  if  this  difference  of  apprehension  relate  to 
worship  or  communion,  and  the  modes  or  tenns 
thereof,  there  cannot  but  be  a  strong  inclination  to 
separate  in  whole  or  in  part,  according  as  the  differ- 
ence of  apprehension  is ;  for  do  what  we  can,  as  long 
as  we  are  rational  creatures,  the  understanding  will 
have  the  directing  of  the  will. 

Now  surely  this  separation,  (if  we  must  call  it  so,) 
or  rather,  this  variety  and  diversity  of  worship  and 
communion y  may  be  managed  without  schism,  pro- 
vided Christian  love  and  charity  be  kept  entire  not- 
withstanding. 

For  can  any  imagine  that  a  difference  of  appre- 
hension, in  regard  of  worship  and  discipline,  should 
be  more  schismatical  than  difference  of  apprehension 
in  doctrine ;  since,  of  the  two,  doctrinal  truths  seem 
more  essential  to  Christianity  ? 

But  to  come  a  little  closer.  The  meetings  of  the 
dissenters  (though  now,  blessed  be  God,  permitted 
and  allowed  of  by  the  law  of  the  land,  yet)  are 
commonly  charged  with  being  schismatical.  The 
great  outcry  is,  that  we  leave  the  chureh ;  and  the 
unthinking  mobile,  who  are  so  well  taught  as  to 
know  no  other  churehes  but  the  public  places  of 
worship,  are  easily  induced  to  believe  it ;  as  if  it 
were  schism  to  worship  God  any  where  else,  let  the 
worship  there  be  what  it  will. 

Those  who  will  allow  themselves  the  liberty  of  an 
unprejudiced  thought,  cannot  but  see  the  difference 
so  small,  that  as  long  as  we  believe  the  same  Chris- 
■ 

I  Jcr.  XV.  10. 


THE  NATURE  OF  SCHISM. 


855 


tian  Taitb,  and  agree  in  the  same  protestant  abhor- 
rence of  papal  delasiona,  wo  may  easily  be  looked 
upon  as  one  and  the  same  church,  as  well  as  two 
several  pariah  churches  may,  especially  being  united 
under  the  care  and  protection  of  one  protestant 
kiog,  and  members  of  the  same  protestant  common- 
wealth. 

(1.)  I  do  from  the  bottom  of  my  soul  detest  and 
abhor  all  separation  from  the  parish  churches  to 
atheism,  irreligton,  and  sensuality,  (who  separate 
tkemselveSf  sensual/*^)  who  forsake  the  church  to  go 
to  the  alehouse  or  tavern,  or  to  their  secular  busi- 
ness, or  to  their  slothful neas  and  laziness,  to  sepa- 
rete  unto  that  shame.'  And  if  this  separation  had 
been  more  animadverted  upon  than  it  has  been  of 
late,  probably  the  cure  of  schism  would  have  been 
sooner  effected  thereby,  than  by  severities  that  have 
been  used  against  conscientious  separatists. 

(3.)  I  do  likewise  abhor  all  schismatical,  that  is, 
oneharitable,  proud,  censorious,  rigid  separation ; 
sQch  separation  as  theirs  who  condemn  the  parish 
churches  as  no  parts  of  the  visible  church,  who  rail 
at  ministers  as  Babylonish  and  antichristian :  this 
is  a  horrid  breach  of  the  law  of  Christian  love,  and 
that  which  every  good  heart  cannot  but  rise  at  the 
thoughts  of. 

And  yet  I  cannot  but  say,  and  am  satisfied  in  it, 
that  there  may  be  a  lawful  and  justifiable  separation, 
^though  I  would  rather  call  it  a  diversity  of  commu- 
nion from  the  parish  churches,)  which  I  shall  cndea- 
Tourto  clear  in  three  cases. 

[I.]  If  my  own  conscience  be  not  satisfied  in  the 
lawfulness  of  any  terms  of  communion  imposed,  as 
far  as  I  fall  under  that  imposition,  I  may  justify  a 
separation  from  them,  and  a  joining  with  other 
churches,  where  I  may  be  freed  from  that  imposi- 
tion, provided  that  this  be  not  done  schismatically, 
that  is,  with  heat  and  bitterness,  and  alienation  of 
Christian  affection.  And  I  hope  none  that  have  the 
law  of  Christ  written  in  their  hearts  will  say,  that  it 
is  impossible  tmly  to  love  those  with  whom  I  am 
not  satisfied  to  join  in  all  the  ordinances,  for  the 
sake  of  some  ceremonies,  with  which,  after  all  my 
study,  prayer,  and  conversation,  I  cannot  be  satis- 
fied. 

So,  if  I  be  a  minister,  and  as  such  obliged  to 
preach  the  gospel,  yet  kept  out  from  the  public  ex- 
ercise of  my  ministry  by  such  terms  and  conditions, 
oaths  and  sabscriptions,  as  I  judge  sinful ;  in  such 
a  case  surely  it  is  lawful  for  me,  with  Eldad  and 
Medad,  to- prophesy  in  the  camp,  since  in  my  judg- 
ment the  door  of  the  tabernacle  is  made  narrower 
than  my  Master  has  appointed  it  to  be  made.  What 
should  hinder  but  that,  as  a  minister  of  Christ,  I  may 
administer  all  the  ordinances,  according  to  Christ's 
institution,,  to  those  who  are  willing  to  join  with  me, 

m  Jude  10. 


and  put  themselves  under  my  conduct  (such  as  it  is) 
in  those  administrations?  If  God  has  given  though 
but  one  talent,  it  must  be  traded  with,  or  else  there 
will  be  an  uncomfortable  reckoning  shortly,  espe- 
cially when  we  look  abroad,  and  consider  how  the 
apparent  necessity  of  precious  souls  call  for  our 
utmost  diligence  in  our  Master's  work  ;  and  indeed 
there  is  work  enough  for  us  all,  if  God  would  give 
us  hearts  to  be  serious  and  unanimous  in  it. 

In  this  also  it  is  always  provided,  that  my  agency 
in  a  ministerial  station  be  not  made  schismatical  by 
my  heat,  passion,  and  bitterness ;  but  that  I  live  in 
true  love  and  charity  with  those  whom  by  roason  of 
the  impositions  I  cannot,  salva  conseientia — with  a 
pure  conscience,  join  with  in  communion. 

[2.]  Though  I  be  satisfied  in  the  lawfulness  of  the 
terms  of  communion  required,  and  so  when  purer 
administrations  are  not  to  be  had,  may,  rather  tlian 
live  in  a  total  want  of  the  ordinances,  comply  with 
them,  yet  when  I  have  an  opportunity  of  enjoying 
those  ordinances  in  a  way  which  I  judge  more  puro 
and  scriptural,  or  which  I  think  moro  lively  and 
edifying,  and  more  likely  to  attain  the  great  end  of 
all  ordinances,  and  that  contribute  more  to  my 
comfort  and  holiness,  and  communion  with  God  ;  in 
such  a  case  I  cannot  see  but  that  I  may  lawfully 
have  recourse  to  such  administrations,  though  there- 
by I  may  seem  to  separate  from  another  church, 
wherein  before  I  had  joined,  and  for  which  I  still 
retain  a  very  charitable  opinion  and  affection.  If 
the  magistrate  should  be  so  unreasonable  as  to  im- 
pose upon  me  an  unskilful  physician,  to  be  alone 
made  use  of  in  case  of  sickness,  I  might  take  him 
rather  than  none ;  but  if  there  be  another,  who,  I 
am  sure,  has  more  skill  and  will  to  help  me,  I  think 
I  should  be  accessary  to  the  ruin  of  my  health  and 
life,  if  I  should  not  make  use  of  him,  notwithstand- 
ing such  an  inhibition. 

And  is  not  the  life,  and  health,  and  salvation  of 
my  immortal  soul  dearer  to  me  than  any  other  con- 
cern ?  Is  not  communion  with  God  the  sweetest  and 
most  precious  of  all  my  delights  ?  Is  it  not  the  life 
of  my  soul,  and  the  crown  of  all  my  joys  ?  And  are 
not  those  administrations  most  desirable  in  which  I 
find  myself  most  edified  ?  Must  I  then  be  such  an 
enemy  to  my  own  comfort  and  happiness,  as  to  throw 
away  all  opportunities  which  I  might  have  of  that 
kind,  only  in  a  compliment?  Amietu  Socrates^ 
amicus  Plato^  sed  magis  arnica  Veritas — Socrates  is 
my  friend,  Plato  is  my  friend,  but  truth  is  my  best 
ft*iend.  The  bishops  are  my  friends,  and  the  minis- 
ters my  friends,  and  I  have  a  true  love  for  them,  but 
charity  begins  at  home,  especially  when  my  pre- 
cious soul,  more  worth  than  all  the  world,  lies  at 
stake. 

This  case  is  somewhat  the  clearer  in  those  parishes 

B  Ho8.ix.  10. 


856 


THE  NATURE  OF  SCHISM. 


where  the  pablic  ministers  are  either  ignorant,  pro- 
fane, or  malignant 

[3.]  Nay,  suppose  I  am  so  well  satisfied  in  com- 
munion with  the  parish  churches  in  all  administra- 
tions, as  not  to  desire  better,  or  not  to  expect  better, 
in  the  dissenters'  meetings,  yet  I  cannot  see  what 
schism,  that  is,  what  breach  of  Christian  love  and 
charity,  there  is  in  it,  for  me  to  be  present  sometimes 
in  the  congregations  of  the  sober  dissenters,  and  to 
join  with  them  who  worship  the  same  God,  in  the 
name  of  the  same  Mediator,  read  and  preach  the 
same  word,  and  live  in  hopes  of  the  same  inheritance, 
and  differ  from  me  only  in  some  little  things  which 
I  think  not  worth  contending  for,  scarce  worth  the 
mentioning ;  hereby  to  evidence  my  universal  love 
and  catholic  charity,  and  that  I  am  not  of  narrow, 
schismatical,  dividing  principles,  nor  one  who  will 
sacrifice  Christian  love  to  the  petty  trifling  fancies 
and  interests  of  a  party. 

The  sober  dissenters  are  such  as  I  have  reason  to 
hope  have  communion  with  God  in  what  they  do, 
and  therefore  why  should  not  I  now  and  then  have 
communion  with  them?  In  every  nation  he  that 
fears  God,  and  warhs  righteousness,  is  accepted  of  him  ; 
and  why  should  he  not  be  accepted  of  me  ?  Why  may 
not  I  have  fellowship  with  them  who  have  fellowship 
with  the  Father  and  with  his  Son  Jesus  Christ^  To 
fancy  schism,  that  is,  uncharitable  contention  and 
a  breach  of  Christian  love,  in  this  is  very  absurd. 

Obj.  But  hereby  I  encourage  a  schism,  and  coun- 
tenance them  in  their  separation  from  that  which  in 
my  estimation  is  lawful  and  good,  and  does  not  give 
just  cause  for  such  a  separation. 

Answ.  There  must  be  grains  of  allowance  for  dif- 
ference of  apprehension,  different  capacities,  con- 
stitutions, and  inclinations ;  custom,  and  especially 
education,  must  be  put  into  the  scale ;  and  while  I 
walk  according  to  the  light  which  God  has  given 
me,  I  must  charitably  believe  that  others  do  so  to. 

Whether  the  dissenters'  meetings  be  as  to  the 
constitution  of  them  (looking  upon  them  only  as  di- 
versities of  communion)  schismatical,  has  been  con- 
sidered already,  and  found  otherwise  by  Scripture 
light. 

The  common  outcry  is,  that  it  is  the  setting  up  of 
altar  against  altar :  which  is  not  so ;  for  at  the  most 
it  is  but  altar  by  altar;  and  though  I  have  often 
read  of  one  body,  and  one  Spirit,  and  one  hope, 
and  one  Lord,  and  one  faith,  and  one  baptism,  and' 
one  God  and  Father,?  yet  I  could  never  find  a  word 


•  1  John  1. 3. 


p  Eph.  iv.  4~«. 


in  all  the  New  Testament  of  one  altar,*i  except  Jesus 
Christ,  the  altar  that  sanctifies  every  gift,  in  whom 
we  all  centre.  And  if  there  be  any  of  the  dissenters 
who  are  schismatical,  that  is,  contentious,  bitter,  and 
uncharitable  in  their  separation,  let  them  bear  their 
own  burthen,  but  by  my  presence  with  them  I  encou- 
rage that  in  them,  no  more  than  I  do  too  mach  of  a 
like  spirit  in  too  many  of  those  who  are  called  the 
church-of-England  men,  by  my  adherence  to  them. 

To  conclude.  By  all  this  it  is  evident  that  anity  of 
affection  is  the  thing  to  be  laboured  after,  more  than 
uniformity  in  modes  and  ceremonies.  We  have 
been  long  enough  trying  to  root  schism  out  of  the 
church,  oi  et  armis — by  impositions,  fines,  and  penal- 
ties, choking  our  brethren,  because  their  Uiroats 
have  not  been  so  wide  as  ours.  And  it  has  been 
found  ineffectual,  even  in  the  judgment  of  oar  ^reat 
Sanhedrim,  who  have  declared  that  "  giving  ease  to 
scrupulous  consciences  is  the  likeliest  way  to  unite 
their  Majesty's  protestant  subjects  in  interest  and 
affection."  What  if  we  should  now  try  another 
method,  and  turn  the  stream  of  our  endeavours  into 
another  channel  ?  Hitherto  we  have  been  as  it  were 
striving  which  should  hate  one  another  moat ;  what 
if  we  should  now  strive  which  should  love  one  ano- 
ther best,  and  be  most  ready  to  do  all  offices  of  tme 
charity  and  kindness,  and  buty  all  our  little  fends 
and  animosities  in  that  blessed  grave  of  Christian 
love  and  charity  ? 

What  if  we  should  every  one  of  us,  of  each  party, 
(as  we  have  been  too  often  called,)  set  oorselves  by 
our  preaching  to  promote  and  propagate  the  gospel 
oi  peace,  and  by  our  prayers  to  prevail  with  God  for 
a  more  plentiful  pouring  out  of  the  Spirit  of  peace, 
that  the  dividing  names  of  Baalim  may  be  taken  out 
of  our  mouths,  and  that,  however  it  goes  with  uni- 
formity of  ceremony,  we  may  keep  the  unity  of  the 
Spirit?  And  then  I  doubt  not  but  that  we  should  soon 
see  our  English  Jerusalem  established  a  praise  in 
the  midst  of  the  earth. 

And  yet  I  am  afraid  even  saints  will  be  men ;  there 
will  be  remainders  even  of  those  corruptions  which 
are  the  seed  of  schism,  in  the  best,  till  we  all  (x>n[ie 
to  the  perfect  man. 

And  that  is  the  comfort  of  my  soul,  that  if  we  can 
but  once  get  to  heaven,  we  shall  be  for  ever  out  of 
the  noise  and  hurry  of  this  quarrelsome,  contentions, 
dividing  world,  and  the  church  triumphant  shall  be 
no  more  militant,  but  that  happy  world  of  everlast- 
ing light  will  be  a  world  of  everlasting  love. 


q  Heb.  xiii.  10. 


THE  LAY-MAN'S  REASONS 


FOR   HIS 


JOINING  IN  STATED  COMMUNION  WITH 


A  CONGREGATION  OF  MODERATE  DISSENTERS. 


My  case,  in  short,  is  this.  I  am  horn  in  a  Christian 
nation,  and  baptized  into  the  Christian  faith ;  and  I 
reckon  it  my  unspeakable  honour  and  happiness 
that  I  am  so,  and  diat  I  live  in  the  times  of  reform- 
ation. In  this  nation,  wherever  I  am,  I  find  public 
assemblies  for  religious  worship,  all  agreeing  to 
worship  the  same  God,  in  the  name  of  the  same 
Mediator,  under  the  conduct  and  influence  of  the 
same  Spirit,  according  to  the  rule  of  the  same 
Scriptures,  holding  communion  with  the  universal 
charch  in  faith,  hope,  and  love,  under  the  presi- 
dency of  gospel  ministers,  by  the  same  ordinances 
of  the  word,  sacraments,  and  prayer,  looking  for  the 
same  blessed  hope.  All  these  assemblies  concur,  in 
their  testimony,  not  only  against  Jews,  Pagans,  and 
Mahometans  abroad,  but  against  atheists,  infidels, 
and  profane  at  home;  and  likewise  in  their  pro- 
testation against  the  tyranny  and  idolatry  of  the 
church  and  coart  of  Rome. 

Bat  I  find  there  is  some  difference  among  these 
Christian  assemblies.  Though  all  good  Christians 
are  one  in  Christ  by  faith,  and  one  with  each  other 
hj  holy  love,  yet  in  outward  and  lesser  things  I  ob- 
ierve  they  do  not  all  agree.  And  it  is  no  surprise 
to  me  that  they  do  not ;  for  I  know  that  the  best  are 
imperfect  in  this  world.  I  find  some  of  these  as- 
semblies, and,  indeed,  far  the  greatest  number, 
established  and  appointed  by  an  act  of  parliament  at 
the  time  of  the  happy  restoration,  14  Car.  2.  The 
ministers  presiding  in  these  assemblies,  ordained  by 
bishops,  usually  presented  by  lay-patrons,  and  to 
the  great  advantage  of  their  ministry,  dignified,  and 
hoDourably  provided  for,  by  the  civil  government. 
The  ordinances  administered  in  these  assemblies  ac- 
cording to  the  book  of  Common  Prayer,  and  the 
discipline  managed  by  the  chancellor  of  the  diocese, 
and  his  court. 

I  find  some  few  of  these  assemblies  permitted  and 


allowed  by  another  act  of  parliament,  twenty-seven 
years  after  the  former,  at  the  time  of  the  late  glori- 
ous revolution,  1  William  and  Mary.  The  ministers 
presiding  in  them  ordained  by  presb3^ers,  chosen  by 
the  people,  and  though  taken  under  the  protection, 
yet  destitute  of  the  authority  and  support,  of  the 
civil  powers.  The  ordinances  administered  in  them 
not  by  a  set,  prescribed,  constant  form,  but  by  the 
rule  of  the  Scripture  in  general,  and  according  to 
the  measure  of  the  gift  given  to  him  that  ministers. 
The  discipline  managed  by  the  minister  himself, 
who  presides  in  other  ordinances,  with  the  advice 
and  concurrence*  of  the  congregation.  Providence 
has  so  cast  my  lot,  and  appointed  the  bounds  of  my 
habitation,  that  assemblies  of  both  these  kinds  are 
within  my  reach. 

And,  through  the  grace  of  God,  I  think  I  can 
truly  say,  this  is  my  character.  I  am  heartily  con- 
cerned about  my  soul,  and  my  everlasting  condition : 
it  is  my  care  and  desire  to  please  God,  and  to  work 
out  my  salvation.  Ail  other  interests  and  concerns 
are  nothing  to  me,  in  comparison  with  this.  I  se- 
riously profess  I  am  afraid  of  sin,  and  am  solicitous 
to  be  found  in  the  way  of  my  duty,  and  to  get  all 
the  help  I  can  to  forward  me  toward  heaven,  and  to  fit 
me  for  it.  Hereunto  I  can  add  this  further  protest- 
ation, that,  through  the  grace  of  God,  I  have  a  ca- 
tholic charity  for  all  good  Christians.  I  cannot 
monopolize  the  church ;  it  is  narrow  enough,  I  dare 
not  make  it  narrower :  I  love  a  good  man,  whatever 
party  he  belongs  to,  and  him  who  follows  Christ, 
though  he  does  not  follow  with  me.  He  that  fears 
Godf  and  works  righteousness y  is  accepted  of  God,  and 
shall  be  accepted  by  me.  My  practice  is  this.  I 
join  myself  sometimes  with  the  assemblies  of  the 
public  establishment,  if  any  opportunity  offers  itself 
on  a  week  day  ;  or  if  I  happen  on  the  Lord's  day  to 
be  out  of  the  reach  of  such  assemblies  as  I  choose 


858 


REASONS  FOR  JOINING  WITH  DISSENTERS. 


statedly  to  join  with,  I  freely  and  cheerfally  attend 
tlie  divine  service  of  the  church,  knowing  nothing 
in  the  prayers  but  what  I  can  heartily  say  Amen  to, 
which  I  choose  rather  to  do,  than  to  answer  aload 
after  the  minister.  And  this  I  do,  that  I  may  testify 
the  catholic  charity,  and  my  communion  with,  and 
affection  to,  all  good  Christians,  though  I  be  not  in 
every  thing  of  their  mind.  Hereby,  likewise,  I 
endeavour  to  fulfil  all  righteousness,  and,  in  my 
place,  I  bear  my  testimony  to  that  which  is  of  God 
in  the  public  establishment,  wherein  I  do  rejoice, 
and  will  rejoice. 

But  I  constantly  join  in  all  the  ordinances  with  a 
congregation  of  moderate  and  sober  dissenters :  with 
them  I  hold  stated  communion ;  and  with  them,  after 
many  serious  and  impartial  thoughts,  have  put  my- 
self under  the  ministerial  conduct  and  inspection 
of  a  preacher  or  teacher  allowed,  though  not  autho- 
rized by  the  law  of  the  land ;  but  one  who  is  mani- 
fested in  my  conscience  to  be  a  true  and  faithful 
minister  of  Jesus  Christ. 

The  reasons  why  I  choose  my  settled  communion 
with  the  dissenters,  are  these  six,  which  abundantly 
satisfy  my  own  conscience  at  present,  not  judging 
other  men's  consciences,  nor  knowing  what  further 
light  God  may  hereafter  give  me  in  this  matter. 

1.  I  think  it  is  my  duty  to  own  and  adhere  to  that 
ministry  which  seems  to  me  to  be  wrongfully  and 
injuriously  excluded  from  the  public  establishment; 
and  the  exclusion  of  which  was  professedly  intended 
and  designed  by  the  Act  of  Uniformity.  By  making 
such  oaths,  declarations,  and  subscriptions,  the 
indispensable  terms  of  their  admission  into  the 
ministry,  or  continuance  in  it,  as  they  coufd  not 
comply  with,  without  sinning  against  their  con- 
sciences, they  were  and  are  effectually  shut  out  from 
the  public  establishment.  This  I  take  to  be  a  wrong 
both  to  them  who  are  well  worthy  of  the  church's 
double  honours,  and  to  the  church  which  stands  in 
need  of,  and  would  be  greatly  benefited  by,  their 
useful  labours.  I  therefore  think  that  I  ought,  in 
my  place,  both  to  bear  my  testimony  against  the 
exclusion  of  them,  (lest  I  should  partake  with  other 
men's  sins,  and  should  be  found  to  have  laid  a  con- 
federacy with  those  who  put  so  many  burning  shining 
lights  under  a  bushel,)  and  also  to  aid,  assist,  and 
encourage  those  who  are  so  excluded ;  putting  my 
soul  into  their  soul's  stead,  and  then  doing  as  I  would 
be  done  by.  Were  I  a  minister,  I  must  be  shut  out 
as  they  are,  and  should  expect  to  be  countenanced 
in  suffering  for  conscience  sake ;  and  therefore  can- 
not but  countenance  them.  And  this  is  that  which 
I  verily  believe  most  men  will  do  when  it  comes  to  be 
their  own  case,  whatever  they  talk  when  they  are 
uppermost.  Those  who,  at  any  time,  have  thought 
themselves  unjustly  restrained  from  the  public  exer- 
cise of  their  ministry,  have  ever  yet  thought  them- 
selves obliged  to  exercise  it  in  private  as  they  could, 


and  their  friends  obliged  to  stand  by  them  in  it ; 
and  so  I  believe  they  ever  will. 

2. 1  think  it  is  my  duty  to  choose  rather  statedly  to 
join  in  those  administrations,  which  come  nearest  to 
the  divine  institution,  than  in  those  which  have  in 
them  an  unnecessary  mixture  of  human  invention. 
How  far  men  may  lawfully  devise  and  use  cere- 
monies of  their  own,  under  pretence  of  beautifying 
God's  ordinances,  and  edifying  themselves  and 
others,  I  pretend  not  to  be  a  competent  judge :  but 
to  me  it  seems  very  plain,  that  the  ordinances  of 
Christ  are  purer,  and  look  better,  without  them ;  and 
that  those  who  make  the  Scripture  only  their  rale, 
and  admit  nothing  into  their  worship  but  what  is 
warranted  by  it,  are  to  be  preferred  much  before 
those  who  practise  many  things  in  their  stated  public 
worship,  which  they  do  not  produce  any  ground  or 
warrant  for  in  the  Holy  Scripture.  To  me  it  seems 
much  better  in  baptism,  only  to  wash  a  child  with 
water,  in  the  name  of  Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Ghost, 
in  token  that  he  shall  not  be  ashamed  to  confess 
Christ  crucified,  which  is  Christ's  institution,  than, 
besides  that,  in  token  of  the  same  thing,  to  sign  him 
with  the  sign  of  the  cross ;  and  in  the  Lord's  supper, 
to  use  the  gesture  Christ's  disciples  used,  rather 
than  another  devised  by  men.  Having  chosen  the 
Scripture  for  the  standing  rule  of  my  faith  and 
practice,  I  choose  to  have  communion  with  those 
who  seem  to  me  to  keep  most  closely  to  it. 

3. 1  think  it  is  my  duty  to  choose  rather  statedly 
to  join  with  those  who  assert  and  maintain  the 
liberty  wherewith  Christ  has  made  us  free,  than  with 
those  who  willingly  submit  to  the  impositions  of 
men  in  the  things  of  God,  and  justify  those  impo- 
sitions. I  am  very  well  satisfied,  that  when  my  Re- 
deemer, in  kindness  to  his  church,  broke  the  yoke 
of  that  ceremonial  law,  which  was  given  by  Moses, 
he  did  not  leave  it  in  the  power  of  any  man,  or 
company  of  men,  in  the  world,  to  make  another  like 
yoke,  and  lay  that  upon  the  necks  of  the  disciples. 
I  doubt  not  but  there  is  a  power  in  the  Christian 
magistrates,  or  other  governors  of  the  church,  to 
restrain  and  correct  natural  indecencies  in  any  of 
the  necessary  circumstances  of  public  worship ;  as 
time,  place,  habit,  or  gesture :  and  that,  in  any  of 
these,  which  unavoidably  renders  the  administration 
of  the  ordinances  either  despicable,  or  inconvenient, 
or  unprofitable,  to  tliose  who  attend  upon  them.  Bat 
I  see  nothing  in  the  gospel  which  warrants  any 
governors,  civil  or  sacred,  to  impose  such  habits 
and  gestures  as  they  please  (because  they  think  them 
decent)  upon  those  who  think  them  incongruous: 
and  then,  to  make  the  use  of  them  the  indispensable 
condition  of  their  communion.  In  the  religious 
assemblies  of  the  dissenters  I  observe,  that  generally 
every  thing  is  done  with  the  gravity  and  decorum 
that  becomes  the  solemnity  there  performed :  I  see 
no  uncouth  habits,  I  hear  no  noisy  responses,  but  all 


REASONS  FOR  JOINING  WITH  DISSENTERS. 


850 


tilings  are  managed  decently,  and  in  order,  with 
rcTerence,  and  to  edification :  and  yet  no  ceremonies 
are  imposed,  no  terms  of  commonion  made,  which 
Christ  has  not  made ;  no  days  made  holy,  bat  that 
which  God  has  made  so;  no  stress  laid  apon  the 
lioiiness  of  places,  which  the  New  Testament  gives 
not  the  least  hint  of  since  the  destruction  of  the  tem- 
ple ;  and  therefore  I  choose  to  join  with  them;  for 
where  the  Spirit  of  the  Lard  is,  there  is  liherty.  Their 
ministers  are  not  tied  np  to  any  one  prescribed  form 
of  prayer,  bat  are  at  liberty  to  vary  and  enlarge  ac- 
cording to  the  improvements  of  their  knowledge,  and 
warmth  of  their  devotion,  and  the  case  of  those 
wb<Me  moath  they  are  in  prayer :  And,  as  I  think, 
every  minister  ought  to  have  some  competent  mea- 
sure of  the  gift  of  prayer,  as  well  as  preaching ;  and 
that  otherwise  he  is  not  duly  qualified ;  so,  I  think, 
having  that  ability,  he  ought  not  to  be  abridged  of 
his  liberty  to  use  it ;  especially  not  in  the  adminis- 
tration of  sacraments.  AU  things  are  iawfidfor  me  ; 
but  1  will  not  he  hrought  under  the  power  of  any  ^ 

4.  I  think  it  is  my  duty  to  choose  rather  to  join 
with  those^  who  refuse  to  admit  into  the  communion 
with  them  such  as  are  openly  vicious  and  profane, 
than  with  those  who,  being  under  an  unhappy  obli- 
gation to  administer  the  Lord's  supper  to  all  in  office, 
and  to  transfer  the  trial  of  all  suspensions  to  the 
bishop's  court,  cannot  possibly  use  so  strict  a  disci- 
pline. Not  that  I  think  I  am  ever  the  worse  for  bad 
people's  joining  with  me  in  the  Lord's  supper,  but 
perhaps  they  are  the  worse  for  my  joining  with  them ; 
and  I  would  not  be  accessary  to  the  hardening  of 
them  in  their  impieties.  I  do  not  expect  to  meet 
with  any  society  of  Christians  perfectly  pure  on  this 
side  heaven ;  there  are  spots,  I  know,  in  our  feasts 
of  charity;  but  I  must  prefer  those  who  appear  to 
me  either  to  be  more  pure  from  the  mixture  of  cor- 
rupt members,  or  at  least  more  solicitous  and  desir- 
ous to  be  so,  and  more  capable  of  being  so  by  their 
own  constitution.  I  have  seen,  with  much  satisfac- 
tion, many  of  the  church  of  England  zealous  against 
vice  and  profaneness,  and  active  for  the  suppressing 
of  it,  and  have  a  mighty  value  and  veneration  for 
them  apon  that  account ;  and  wish  their  constitution 
would  allow  them  to  do  more,  by  church-censures, 
in  prosecution  of  that  worthy  design  than  I  appre- 
hend it  will.  But  for  that  pious  zeal  of  theirs,  I 
have  so  often  heard  them  called  presbyterians  by 
those  who  are  bigots  for  episcopacy  and  the  cere- 
monies, that  I  confess  it  has  made  me  love  the  pres- 
byterians the  better,  since  zeal  against  profaneness 
enters  so  much  into  their  character,  even  their  ene- 
mies themselves  being  judges. 

5.  I  think  it  is  my  duty  to  choose  rather  to  join 
with  those  churches,  whose  constitution  leaves  room 
for  a  catholic  and  comprehensive  charity,  than  with 


•  I  Cor.  vL  13. 


those  whose  avowed  principles  and  sentiments  force 
them  to  monopolize  the  church  in  England  to  them- 
selves, and  forbid  them  to  own  the  dissenting  minis- 
ters as  true  ministers,  and  their  churches  as  true 
churches.  This,  I  confess,  has  a  mighty  influence 
on  me.  The  sober  dissenting  ministers,  as  I  am  ac- 
quainted with  them,  are  manifest  in  my  conscience 
to  be  faithful  ministers  of  Jesus  Christ ;  and  in  their 
administrations  I  cannot  but  see  the  institution  of 
ordinances  observed,  and  every  thing  well  fitted  to 
answer  the  end  of  them.  I  know  many  who  con- 
stantly attend  in  their  assemblies,  and  have  observed 
them  to  be  sound  in  their  principles,  sober  in  their 
lives,  honeA  in  their  dealings,  constant  in  their  de« 
votions,  and  in  all  instances  to  have  given  undeni* 
able  proof  of  their  being  sincere  good  Christians. 
When,  therefore,  in  the  books  and  sermons  that 
plead  for  the  church  of  England,  I  find  these  minis- 
ters censured  and  condemned  as  usurpers,  impostors, 
and  lay-intruders ;  all  their  administrations  nulled, 
their  assemblies  denied  to  be  parts  of  the  catholic 
church,  all  who  join  with  them  sentenced  as  schis- 
matics to  the  pit  of  hell,  and  no  hopes  of  salvation 
given  them,  but  what  God's  general  mercy  allows  to 
moral  heathens ;  and  all  the  reformed  churches,  that 
have  no  bishops,  falling  so  far  under  the  same  cen- 
sure, that  their  ministers  cannot  be  admitted  minis- 
ters of  the  church  of  England,  unless  they  be  re- 
ordained,  while  those  who  have  been  popish  priests 
may;  and  all  these  harsh  censures  excused  from 
uncharitableness  with  this,  that  they  cannot  help  it, 
their  principles  lead  them  to  it :  then,  think  I,  the 
Lord  deliver  me  from  such  principles,  and  from  that 
pretended  unity,  which  is  destructive  of  real  charitfr. 
On  the  other  side,  I  find  the  dissenters  willingly 
owning  the  established  churches  as  true  chtlrches, 
their  ministers  as  true  ministers,  their  principles 
leading  them  to  do  so.  I  often  hear  them,  in  their 
public  assemblies,  pray  for  them,  and  for  their  suc- 
cess in  their  ministry,  and  profess  their  communion 
with  them  in  faith,  hope,  and  love ;  and  in  their 
common  conversation,  I  hear  them  speak  of  them 
with  love  and  respect.  My  judgment  and  inclination 
lead  me  to  the  charitable  side,  as  the  best  and  safest ; 
and  by  all  I  have  read  and  heard  in  this  controversy, 
that  appears  to  me  to  be  the  side  of  the  dissenters. 

6.  I  think  it  is  my  duty  to  attend  on  those  admi- 
nistrations which  I  find  to  be  most  for  my  edification 
in  faith,  holiness,  and  comfort,  and  best  (with  me) 
to  answer  the  ends  of  holy  ordinances.  Herein  I 
hope  I  may  be  allowed  to  judge  for  myself.  I  have 
often  tried  both ;  and  if  I  know  my  own  heart,  with- 
out prejudice  or  partiality,  I  must  say,  that  I  have 
found  my  heart  more  affected*  and  enlarged  in  those 
confessions,  prayers,  and  thanksgivings,  which  have 
been  offered  up  without  a  stated  prescribed  form, 


860 


REASONS  FOR  JOINING  WITH  DISSENTERS. 


than  ever  it  was  in  those  that  have  been  invariably 
tied  up  to  certain  words.  Far  be  it  from  me  to  make 
comparison  of  men's  abilities  and  performances: 
I  greatly  honour  and  value  the  g^fts  and  labours  of 
many  who  are  in  the  public  establishment ;  but,  to 
my  capacity,  the  dissenters'  praying  and  preaching 
is  most  adapted,  and  most  profitable ;  and  those  I 
am  to  reckon  the  best  gifts,  and  to  covet  earnestly, 
which  I  find  by  experience  best  for  me.  Sabbath- 
time  is  precious  ;  and  I  would  willingly  improve  it 
so  as  will  be  most  for  my  advantage  in  keeping  my 
communion  with  God,  and  preparing  for  heaven.  If 
it  be  owing  to  my  own  weakness  that  these  adminis- 
trations are  most  agreeable  to  me,  yet  Vhilc  I  sin- 
cerely design  God's  glory,  and  my  own  spiritual 
benefit  therein,  I  trust,  through  Christ,  that  God 
will  not  only  forgive  me,  but  accept  me,  and  that 
they  also  who  are  strong,  will  bear  with  my  infirmi- 
ties. 

These  are  the  principles  I  go  upon,  and  from  them 
I  conclude, 

(1.)  That  if  the  present  dictate  of  my  conscience 
and  practical  judgment  be,  that  it  is  my  duty  to 
choose  my  stated  communion  with  the  congregations 
of  dissenters,  then  it  is  my  sin  if  I  do  not  do  it ;  for 
to  him  (hat  knows  to  do  good,  and  doth  it  not,  to  him 
it  is  sin, 

(2.)  Then,  by  occasional  communion  with  the 


church  of  England,  whereby  I  design  to  testify  roj 
charity  and  catholic  communion,  and  my  approba- 
tion of  that  in  it  which  is  good,  I  do  not  in  the  leasl 
condemn  my  stated  communion  with  the  dissenters  ^ 
for  though  I  am  not  convinced  that  it  is  a  sin  oi 
commission  at  any  time  to  join  with  the  established 
church,  nor  that  any  thing  in  itself  unlawfal  is  re« 
quired  as  the  condition  of  lay-communion,  yet,  upon 
the  grounds  aforesaid,  I  am  fully  convinced  it  i^Fould 
be  a  sin  of  omission  not  to  join  with  the  dissenters 
I  will  not  condemn  any  thing  that  is  good,  vrhen  i 
better  is  not  in  my  reach  ;  but  when  it  is,  I  tbink  ] 
am  obliged,  in  duty  to  God,  and  in  concern  for  mj 
own  soul,  to  prefer  it.  All  things  are  laxfulfor  n^e^ 
hut  all  things  edifg  not. 

(3.)  Then,  in  all  this,  I  am  far  from  jad|png^  and 
censuring  those  who  differ  from  me.  I  walk,  ac- 
cording to  my  present  light,  preferring  that  which  1 
think  and  find  to  be  best ;  and  I  verily  believe  thosi 
good  Christians  who,  I  know,  constantly  join  vrit^ 
the  public  establishment  do  so  too,  preferring^  thai 
which  they  think  and  find  to  be  the  best ;  and  botli 
they  and  I  (I  trust)  are  accepted  of  God.  To  thos< 
who  condemn  me  herein,  I  shall  only  offer  that  rea^ 
sonable  demand  of  St.  Paul :  If  any  man  tmsi  u 
himself  that  he  is  Christ's,  let  him  of  kimseif  tAini 
this  again^  thstt  as  he  is  Chrisfs,  even  so  are  v^ 
Chrisfs.*' 

b  8  Cor.  X.7. 


A  PLAIN 


CATECHISM  FOR  CHILDREN. 


Introduction. 

I  SHOULD  not  have  thought  of  drawing  np,  much 
less  of  pabliflhiDg,  this  little  Catechism,  with  its 
Appendix,  if  I  bad  not  been  solicited  to  it  by  some 
of  my  friends,  whose  judgment  and  advice  I  have 
a  great  deal  of  reason  to  put  a  value  upon. 

The  children  into  whose  hands  it  is  designed  to 
be  put,  are  supposed  to  have  learned  the  creed,  the 
Lord's  prayer,  and  the  ten  commandments,  those 
first  forms  of  sound  words  ;  and  then  perhaps  some 
time  spent  in  this,  may  prepare  them  afterwards  to 
improve  by  the  falness  and  accuracy  of  the  Astetn- 
hley*t  Catechism,  with  which  this  does  very  little  in- 
terfere, and  which  therefore,  I  hope,  it  will  not  be 
SQspected  of  a  design  to  supersede. 

Whether  such  a  catechism  as  this  be  so  needful, 
u  some  have  said  they  think  it  is,  I  know  not. 
However,  I  hope  it  may  be  useful  to  some ;  and 
therefore  I  am  willing  to  let  it  go  abroad ;  and  the 
blessing  of  heaven  go  along  with  it 

It  is  God's  promise,  that  all  shall  hnow  himyfrom 
tie  least  even  to  the  greatest.  That  that  promise 
may  be  fulfilled,  and  all  pious  endeavours,  for  the 
propagating  of  Christian  knowledge,  crowned  with 
soccess,  is  my  heart's  desire  and  prayer. 


July  7th,  1703. 


Matth.  Henry. 


PART  I. 


Of  God  and  the  Scriptures, 

Q.  1.  What  must  you  do  in  the  days  of  your  youth  ? 
A.  I  must  remember  my  Creator.  Q.  2.  Who  is 
Toor  Creator  ?  A-  The  great  God,  who  made  the 
world.  Q.  3.  Who  is  your  Preserver?  A.  The  same 
Go<i,  who  made  me,  preserves  and  maintains  me  ; 
and  in  him  I  live,  and  move,  and  have  my  being. 


Q.  4.  What  are  you  made  and  maintained  for?  A. 
To  glorify  God.  Q.  5.  What  do  you  believe  con- 
cerning this  God  ?  A.  I  believe  that  he  is  an  infinite 
and  eternal  Spirit,  most  wise  and  powerful,  holy, 
just,  and  good.  Q.  6.  How  many  gods  are  there? 
A.  There  is  but  one  God.  Q.  7.  How  many  persons 
are  there  in  the  godhead  ?  A.  Three :  the  Father, 
Son,  and  Holy  Ghost ;  and  these  three  are  one. 
Q.  8.  What  is  your  duty  to  this  God  as  your  Crea- 
tor? A.  It  is  my  duty  to  fear  and  honour  him,  to 
worship  and  obey  him,  and  in  all  my  ways  to  trust 
in  him,  and  to  please  him.  Q.  9.  What  is  the  rule  of 
your  faith  and  obedience  ?  A.  The  Holy  Scriptures 
of  the  Old  and  New  Testament,  which  we  call  the 
Bible.  Q.  10.  What  is  the  excellency  of  that  book  ? 
A.  It  is  the  word  of  God.  Q.  11.  What  use  will  it 
be  of  to  you  ?  A.  It  is  able  to  make  me  wise  to 
salvation. 

PART  II. 

Cf  our  Misery  by  Sin,  and  our  Redemption  hy  Christ, 

Q.  12.  Who  were  your  first  parents  ?  A.  Adam  and 
Eve,  from  whom  we  are  all  descended.  Q.  13. 
What  condition  did  God  create  them  in  ?  A.  Holy 
and  happy.  Q.  14.  How  did  they  lose  their  holi- 
ness and  happiness?  A.  By  their  disobedience  to 
the  command  of  God,  in  eating  the  forbidden  fruit. 
Q.  15.  What  condition  are  we  all  born  in?  A.  Sin- 
ful and  miserable.  Q.  16.  How  do  you  perceive 
your  condition  to  be  by  nature  sinful  ?  A.  Because 
I  find  I  am  naturally  prone  to  that  which  is  evil, 
and  backward  to  that  which  is  good  ;  and  foolish- 
ness is  bound  up  in  my  heart.  Q.  17.  How  do  you 
perceive  your  condition  to  be  by  nature  miserable  ? 
A.  Because  I  find  myself  liable  to  many  troubles  in 
this  life ;  and  the  Scripture  tells  me,  I  am  by  nature 
a  child  of  wrath.  Q.  18.  What  would  become  of 
you  then  without  a  Saviour  ?  A.  I  should  be  Cer- 
tainly lost  and  undone  for  ever.  Q.  19.  Who  is  it 
that  saves  us  out  of  this  sad  condition  7  A.  Our  Lord 


862 


A  CATECHISM  FOR  CHILDREN. 


JesQS  Christ,  the  only  Mediator  between  God  and 
man.  Q.  20.  Who  was  Jesas  Christ?  A.  The 
eternal  Son  of  God.  Q.  21.  What  did  he  do  to  re- 
deem and  save  us  ?  A.  He  took  our  nature  upon 
him,  and  became  man.  Q.  22.  What  life  did  he 
live  in  that  nature  ?  A.  A  life  of  perfect  holiness, 
leaving  us  an  example.  Q.  23.  What  doctrine  did 
he  preach  ?  A.  A  true  and  excellent  doctrine,  con- 
cerning God  and  himself,  and  another  world.  Q. 
24.  What  miracles  did  he  work  to  confirm  his  doc- 
trine ?  A.  He  healed  the  sick  with  a  word  ;  raised 
the  dead,  cast  out  devils,  and  many  other  the  like. 
Q.  25.  What  .death  did  he  die  ?  A.  The  cursed 
death  of  the  cross,  to  satisfy  for  our  sins,  and  to  re- 
concile us  to  God.  Q.  26.  What  became  of  him 
after  he  was  dead?  A.  He  arose  again  from  the 
dead  on  the  third  day,  and  ascended  up  into  heaven. 
Q.  27.  Where  is  he  now  ?  A.  He  is  at  the  right 
hand  of  God,  where  he  ever  lives,  making  interces- 
sion for  us,  and  has  all  power  both  in  heaven  and 
earth.  Q.  28.  When  will  he  come  again  ?  A.  He 
will  come  again  in  glory  at  the  last  day  to  judge  the 
world. 

PART  III. 

Concerning  Baptism  and  the  Covenant  of  Grace, 

Q.  29.  What  relation  do  you  stand  in  to  the  Lord 
Jesus  ?  A.  I  am  one  of  his  disciples ;  for  I  am  a 
baptized  Christian.  Q.  30.  Into  whose  name  were 
you  baptized  ?  A.  Into  the  name  of  the  Father,  the 
Son,  and  the  Holy  Ghost.  Q.  31.  What  was  the 
meaning  ofyour  being  so  baptized?  A.  I  was  there- 
by given  up  in  a  covenant  way,  to  Father,  Son,  and 
Holy  Ghost.  Q.  32.  What  was  the  covenant  which 
was  signified  and  sealed  in  your  baptism  ?  A.  The 
covenant  of  grace  made  with  us  in  Jesus  Christ 
Q.  33.  What  is  the  sum  of  that  covenant?  A.  That 
God  will  be  in  Christ  to  us  a  God,  and  we  must  be 
to  him  a  people.  Q.  34.  How  then  must  yon  take 
the  Lord  for  your  God  ?  A.  I  must  take  God  the 
Father  for  my  chief  good,  and  highest  end  ;  God  the 
Son,  for  my  Prince  and  Saviour ;  and  God  the  Holy 
Ghost,  for  my  Sanctifier,  Guide,  and  Comforter.  Q. 
35.  How  must  you  give  up  yourself  to  him  to  be  one 
of  his  people  ?  A.  I  must  deny  all  ungodliness,  and 
worldly,  fleshly  lusts,  and  roust  resolve  to  live 
soberly,  righteously,  and  godly  in  this  present  world, 
looking  for  the  blessed  hope.  Q.  36.  What  are  the 
three  great  blessings  promised  in  this  covenant  ?  A. 
The  pardon  of  sin,  the  gift  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and 
eternal  life.  Q.  37.  What  are  the  two  great  con- 
ditions of  this  covenant  ?  A.  Repentance  towards 
God,  and  faith  towards  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ. 
Q.  ^.  What  is  it  to  repent  of  your  sins  ?  A.  It  is 
to  be  sorry  that  I  have  offended  God,  in  what  I  have 
done  amiss,  and  to  do  so  no  more.    Q.  39.  What  is 


it  to  believe  in  Jesus  Christ  ?  A.  It  is  to  receive 
him,  and  to  rely  upon  him  as  my  Prophet,  Priest, 
and  King,  and  to  give  up  myself  to  be  ruled,  and 
taught,  and  saved  by  him. 


PART  IV. 

Concerning  our  Duty  to  God,  Ourselves^  and  ovr 

Neighbour, 

Q.  40.  How  must  you  evidence  the  sincerity  of  yonr 
faith  and  repentance  ?  A.'  By  a  diligent  and  con- 
scientious obedience  to  all  God's  commandments. 
Q.  41.  What  is  the  first  and  g^eat  commandment  ? 
A.  To  love  God  with  all  my  heart  Q.  42.  What  is 
the  second,  which  is  like  unto  it?  A.  To  love  my 
neighbour  as  myself,  and  to  show  it,  by  doing  as  I 
would  be  done  by.  Q.  43.  What  is  the  honour  you 
owe  to  God's  name  ?  A.  I  must  never  take  his  name 
in  vain ;  but  must  always  make  mention  of  it  with 
reverence  and  seriousness.  Q.  44.  What  is  the  hon- 
our you  owe  to  God's  word  ?  A.  I  must  read  it  and 
hear  it  with  diligence  and  attention :  I  must  medi- 
tate upon  it,  believe,  and  frame  my  life  according  to 
it.  Q.  45.  What  is  the  honour  yon  owe  to  God  in 
his  providence  ?  A.  I  must  receive  all  his  mercies 
with  thankfulness,  and  I  must  bear  all  afflictions 
with  patience,  and  submission  to  his  holy  will.    Q. 

46.  What  is  the  honour  you  owe  to  the  Lord's  day? 
A.  I  must  keep  the  sabbath  holy  to  God,  by  a  dili- 
gent performance  of  the  religions  duties  of  the  day, 
both  public  and  private,  not  speaking  my  own 
words,  nor  doing  my  own  works  on  that  day.    Q. 

47.  How  must  you  honour  God  in  prayer  ?  A.  I 
must  every  day,  by  solemn  prayer,  seek  the  favoar 
of  God,  and  give  unto  him  the  glory  due  unto  his 
name.  Q.  48.  In  whose  name  must  you  pray  ?  A. 
In  the  name  of  Jesus  Christ  only.  Q.  49.  What  must 
you  pray  for  ?  A.  For  mercy  to  pardon,  and  grace  to 
help  in  time  of  need.  Q.  50.  What  else  must  you 
do  in  your  prayers  ?  A.  I  must  confess  my  sins,  and 
give  God  praise  for  his  goodness  to  mc.  Q.  51. 
What  must  be  your  daily  care  concerning  yonr  own 
soul  ?  A.  I  must  take  care  that  my  heart  be  not 
lifted  up  with  pride,  nor  disturbed  with  anger,  or 
any  sinful  passion.  Q.  52.  What  must  be  your  care 
concerning  your  body  ?  A.  I  must  take  care  that  it 
be  not  defiled  by  intemperance,  uncleanness,  or  any 
fleshly  lusts.  Q.  53.  What  must  be  your  care  con- 
cerning your  words  ?  A.  I  must  never  tell  a  lie,  nor 
mock  at  any  body,  nor  call  nick-names,  nor  speak 
any  filthy  words.  Q.  54.  What  is  your  duty  to  your 
parents  and  governors  ?  A.  I  must  reverence  and 
obey  them  in  the  Lord ;  I  must  thankfully  receive 
their  instructions,  and  submit  to  their  rebukes,  and 
labour  in  every  thing  to  be  a  comfort  to  them.  Q. 
65.  What  is  your  duty  to  the  poor  ?  A.  I  must  pity, 
help,  and  relieve  them,  according  to  my  ability, 


A  CATECHISM  FOR  CHILDREN. 


863 


Q.  56.  What  is  year  daty  to  all  men  ?  'A.  I  most 
render  to  all  their  daes ;  I  mast  be  honest  and  just 
in  all  my  dealings;  I  most  be  respectful  to  my 
friends,  and  forgive  my  enemies,  and  speak  evil  of 
no  man.  Q.  67.  How  are  yon  able  to  perform  this 
doty?  A.  Not  in  any  strength  of  my  own,  but  in 
the  strength  of  the  grace  of  Jesns  Christ,  which  I 
must  ask  of  God  for  his  sake.  Q.  58.  What  must 
you  do  when  you  find  you  come  short  of  this  duty  ? 
A.  I  must  renew  my  repentance,  and  pray  to  God 
for  pardon  in  the  blood  of  Christ,  and  be  careful  to 
do  my  duty  better  for  the  time  to  come.  Q.  59. 
What  eni^oaragement  have  yon  thus  to  live  in  the 
fear  of  God  ?  A.  If  I  do  so,  I  shall  certainly  be 
happy  both  in  this  world,  and  in  that  to  come. 

PART  V. 
Concerning  the  Future  State, 

Q.  eo.  What  will  become  of  yon  shortly?  A.  I 
most  shortly  die,  and  leave  this  world.  Q.  61.  What 
becomes  of  the  body  at  death  ?  A.  It  returns  to  the 
earth,  to  be  raised  to  life  again  at  the  day  of  judg- 
ment. Q.  62.  What  becomes  of  the  soul  then  ? 
A.  It  returns^  to  God  who  gave  it,  to  be  determined 
to  an  anchangeable  state,  according  to  what  was 
done  in  the  body.  Q.  63.  What  shall  be  the  portion 
of  the  wicked  and  ungodly  in  the  other  world  ?  A. 
They  shall  all  go  to  hell.  Q.  64.  What  is  hell  ?  A. 
It  is  a  state  of  everlasting  misery  and  torment,  in 
the  lake  that  boms  with  fire  and  brimstone.  Q.  65. 
What  shall  be  the  portion  of  the  godly  in  the  other 
world  ?  A.  They  shall  all  go  to  heaven.  Q.  66. 
What  is  heayen?  A.  It  is  a  state  of  everlasting  rest 
and  joy  with  God  and  Jesus  Christ.  Q.  67.  What 
life  then  will  you  resolve  to  live  in  this  world  ?  A. 
God's  grace  enabling  me,  I  will  live  a  holy,  godly 
life,  and  make  it  my  great  care  and  business  to  serve 
God,  and  sa^e  my  soul. 


A  SHORT  CATECHISM 

rc-K  Tira  IK8TRC7CTION  OF  TH08B  WHO  ARE  TO  BE  ADMITTED 

TO  THE  LORD^  BUFFER. 

Q.  1.  What  is  the  Lord's  supper  ?  A.  It  is  a  sacra- 
ment of  the  New  Testament.  Q.  2.  Who  ordained 
this  sacrament?  A.  Our  Lord  Jesus,  in  the  night 
vherein  he  was  betrayed.  Q.  3.  What  are  the  out- 
vard  signs  in  this  sacrament }  A.  Giving  and  re- 
mving  bread  and  wine,  and  eating  and  drinking  of 
tbem  in  a  solemn  and  religious  manner.  Q.  4. 
What  does  the  bread  broken  signify  and  represent 
u>  ns?  A.  The  broken  body  of  our  Lord  Jesus, 
which  was  crucified  for  us.    Q.  5.  What  does  the 


wine  signify?  A.  The  precious  blood  of  Christ, 
which  was  shed  for  us  upon  the  cross.  Q.  6.  What 
does  the  minister's  giving  the  bread  and  wine  sig- 
nify ?  A.  The  gracious  offer  that  is  made  us  in  the 
gospel,  of  Christ  and  all  his  benefits,  upon  the  terms 
of  faith,  and  repentance,  and  new  obedience.  Q.  7. 
What  does  the  receiving  of  the  bread  and  wine  sig- 
nify ?  A.  Our  hearty  acceptance  of  Christ  as  he  is 
offered  to  us  in  the  gospel,  and  our  compliance  with 
the  terms  of  that  offer.  Q.  8.  What  docs  the  eating 
of  the  bread  and  drinking  of  the  wine  signify  ?  A. 
The  satisfaction  we  take  in  Christ  and  his  gospel, 
and  the  nourishment  of  our  souls  thereby  through 
faith.  Q.  9.  Why  did  Christ  ordain  this  sacrament  ? 
A.  To  be  a  memorial  of  his  death  till  he  come ;  for 
he  said.  Do  thie  in  rememhranee  of  me,  Q.  10.  What 
more  is  there  in  this  sacrament  ?  A.  It  is  a  seal  of 
the  covenant  of  grace,  strongly  assuring  us,  that  God 
is  willing  in  Christ  to  be  to  us  a  God,  and  strongly 
engaging  us  to  be  to  him  a  people.  Q.  11.  Why 
would  you  be  admitted  to  this  solemn  ordinance  ? 
A.  Because  I  desire  to  take  the  covenant  of  my  bap- 
tism upon  myself,  and  to  make  it  my  own  act  and 
deed,  to  join  myself  unto  the  Lord.  Q.  12.  What 
do  you  think  of  that  covenant  which  is  there  sealed  ? 
A.  I  think  it  is  well  ordered  in  all  things,  and  sure ; 
and  I  do  heartily  consent  to  it,  and  venture  my  soul 
and  my  salvation  upon  it.  Q.  13.  What  do  yon 
think  of  Christ,  who  is  there  set  before  you  ?  A.  I 
think  he  is  a  gracious  and  all-sufficient  Saviour, 
and  I  accept  of  him  as  my  Lord  and  my  God.  Q. 
14.  What  do  you  think  of  sin  ?  A.  I  think  sin  to  be 
the  worst  of  evils  ;  and  I  do  heartily  repent  of  my 
own  sin,  and  turn  from  it  to  God.  Q.  15.  What  do 
you  think  of  this  world  ?  A.  I  think  it  is  vanity 
and  vexation  of  spirit,  and  I  will  never  set  my  heart 
upon  it  Q.  16.  What  do  you  think  of  the  other 
world  ?  A.  I  think  the  things  of  another  world  are 
real,  and  great,  and  very  near,  and  I  would  there- 
fore give  all  diligence  to  prepare  for  that  world. 
Q.  17.  What  do  you  think  of  a  religious  life  ?  A. 
I  think  that  a  holy,  heavenly  life,  spent  in  the  ser- 
vice of  God,  and  in  communion  with  him,  is  the 
most  pleasant  and  comfortable  life  a  man  can  live 
in  this  world.  Q.  18.  Will  you  then  live  such  a  life? 
A.  By  the  grace  of  God,  I  will,  and  with  purpose  of 
heart  will  cleave  to  the  Lord.  Q.  19.  What  com- 
munion do  you  desire  to  have  with  the  church  of 
Christ?  A.  By  faith,  hope,  and  love,  I  desire  to 
maintain  a  spiritual  communion  with  all  that  in 
every  place  call  on  the  name  of  Jesus  Christ  our 
Lord.  Q.  20.  What  must  yon  do  in  your  preparation 
for  the  Lord's  Supper  ?  A.  I  must  examine  myself. 
Q.  21.  How  must  you  examine  yourself  about  your 
spiritual  state  ?  A.  I  must  seriously  inquire  whether 
I  do  in  sincerity  consent  to  the  covenant  of  grace, 
and  whether  I  be  indeed  bom  again.  Q.  22.  What 
will  be  an  evidence,  that  your  spiritual  state  is  bad  ? 


864 


A  CATECHISM  FOR  CHILDREN. 


A.  If  I  live  a  vain  and  careless  life,  loving  the  world 
more  than  God,  and  minding  the  things  of  the  flesh 
more  than  the  things  of  the  Spirit,  and  allowing 
myself  in  any  known  sin,  I  have  reason  to  conclude, 
that  whatever  profession  I  make,  my  spiritual  state 
is  bad.  Q.  23.  What  will  be  an  evidence  that  yoar 
spiritual  state  is  good  ?  A.  If  I  be  heartily  con- 
cerned about  my  soul  and  eternity,  and  carefully 
seek  the  favour  of  God  through  Christ ;  if  I  strive 
against  sin,  make  conscience  of  my  words  and  ways, 
and  have  respect  to  all  God's  commandments,  I 
have  reason  to  hope,  that  notwithstanding  my  daily 
infirmities,  my  spiritual  state  is  good.  Q.  24.  How 
must  you  examine  your  conscience  about  your  par- 
ticular actions  ?  A.  I  must  solemnly  reflect  upon 
what  I  have  done  amiss  in  thought,  word,  and  deed, 
and  I  must  humbly  confess  it  before  God,  and  judge 
myself  for  it  Q.  25.  What  else  must  you  do  in 
your  preparation  for  the  Lord's  supper?  A.  I  must 
earnestly  pray  to  God  for  his  Spirit  and  grace ;  I 
must  meditate  much  upon  the  love  of  Christ  in  dy- 
ing for  me ;  and  I  must  be  in  charity  with  all  men. 


Q.  26.  After  what  manner  must  yon  receive  the 
sacrament?  A.  With  humble  reverence  and  seri- 
ousness ;  with  sorrow  for  sin,  and  hatred  of  it ;  with 
faith  in  Christ,  and  the  lively  workings  of  pious  and 
devout  affection  towards  him.  Q.  27.  What  must 
you  do  after  you  have  received  this  sacranaent  ?  A. 
I  must  walk  cheerfully  vrith  God  in  all  holy  con- 
versation, and  never  return  again  to  folly.  Q.  28. 
Who  are  they  that  receive  this  sacrament  unwor- 
thily ?  A.  They  who  continue  in  love  and  league 
with  sin  while  they  pretend  to  covenant  with  God. 
Q.  29.  What  is  the  misery  of  those  who  do  so  ?  A. 
They  eat  and  drink  judgment  to  themselves,  not  dis- 
cerning the  Lord's  body.  Q.  30.  Who  shall  be 
welcome  to  this  ordinance  ?  A.  They  who  by  faith 
cordially  consent  to  the  covenant  of  grace,  and  do 
honour  to  their  Redeemer,  by  showing*  forth  his 
death.  Q.  31.  What  benefits  do  they  receive  by 
it  that  duly  improve  it  ?  A.  Their  faith  is  hereby 
strengthened,  their  resolutions  are  confirmed,  their 
comforts  are  increased,  and  they  have  an  earnest  of 
the  everlasting  feast. 


SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM, 


IN    THE 


METHOD  OF  THE  ASSEMBLY'S. 


Introduction. 

We  arc  very  happy  (I  know)  in  catechisms,  which, 
to  the  inhabitants  of  this  valley  of  vitionf  will  be 
either  the  means  of  knowledge,  or  the  shame  of  igno- 
rance. The  variety  of  these  forms  of  sound  words, 
while  they  all  speak  for  substance  the  same  thing, 
and  are  all  built  upon  the  foundation  of  the  apostles 
and  prophets,  derogates  not  at  all  from  the  honour 
of  the  Christian  doctrine,  but  rather  (like  the  setting 
up  of  several  candies  in  the  same  rooni)  help  to  dif- 
fuse the  light,  and  make  it  stronger.  Many  very 
excellent  expositions  we  have  both  of  the  Church 
Cateehism  and  of  the  Assembly's^  and  an  ancient  and 


profitable  one  of  Mr.  Ball's;  and  yet  some  encou- 
rage me  to  hope,  that  this  essay,  which  is  in  a  way 
not  hitherto  used,  that  I  know  of,  will  be  found  not 
altogether  useless.  Two  things  I  aim  at  in  it :  one 
is,  to  put  the  catechism  into  such  a  dress,  as  to  make 
it  (if  possible)  both  easy  and  copious,  so  as  that  it 
may  not  be  an  insuperable  task  to  the  learner,  and 
yet  may  furnish  him  with  plenty  of  useful  know- 
ledge. The  bulk  of  it  (which  somewhat  exceeds  my 
first  intentions)  shows  it  to  be  copious  ;  and  yet  I 
think  it  is  made  very  easy,  by  breaking  of  it  into  so 
many  short  questions,  and  those  answered  by  Yes 
or  No,  which  the  learner  may  at  first  content  himself 
with,  the  teacher,  if  he  pleases,  reading  the  proofs : 
and,  by  degrees,  the  learner,  who  is  willing  to  take 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


866 


a  little  pains,  and  begins  to  be  Yersed  in  tbe  Scrip- 
tareSf  will  find  it  no  great  difiicalty  to  charge  his 
memory  with  most  of  the  proofs  annexed,  which  the 
qaestion  oftentimes  easily  introduces,  and  which, 
bj  frequent  ase,  will  in  time  become  familiar.  I 
remember  to  have  seen  an  Explanation  of  the  Attfm- 
kiy't  Shorter  Catechism,  (and  I  think  it  was  the  first 
that  ever  was  published,)  by  a  great  inan,  the  Rev. 
Dt.  Wallis,  of  Oxford,  which  was  done  by  breaking 
the  propositions  of  the  catecbism  in  short  questions, 
answered  (as  this)  with  Yes  or  No.  That  perform- 
aDce,  though  very  short,  was  an  excellent  precedent, 
directing  to  a  method  of  catechising,  which  has  been 
of  good  use  to  enrich  the  understanding  of  the 
learners,  without  overloading  their  memories.  The 
itxt  subjoined  here  will  show  that  our  Yea  is  yea, 
and  oar  Nay,  nay.  To  make  this  the  more  easy, 
the  several  sections  under  each  article  may  be 
allotted  to  several  catechumens. 

Bat  another  thing  I  aim  at,  (and  indeed  the  chief,) 
is  to  promote  the  knowledge  of  the  Scriptures.  Di- 
vine truths,  methinks,  sound  best  in  divine  lan- 
^age ;  and  the  things  which  God  has  revealed  to  us 
ky  his  Sinrii,  cannot  be  conveyed  in  a  more  safe  and 
proper  vehicle,  than  by  t|ie  words  which  the  Holy 
Ghost  teaches,  (I  Cor.  ii.  10,  13.)  which,  though  I 
would  be  far  from  superstitiously  tying  myself  or 
others  to,  yet,  I  confess,  I  cannpt  but  think  tbey 
should  be  prefprred,  I  have  often  observed  how  tbe 
evangelist  rectifies  a  mistake  which  rQse  upon  a  say- 
ing of  Christ's,  only  by  repeating  the  words  spoken, 
iofan  xxi.  23.  He  said  no^.  He  shall  not  dif ;  but,  If 
J  via  that  he  tarry  till  /  come,  what  is  that  to  thee  ? 
He  said  so,  and  no  more ;  add  thou  not  to  his  words. 
We  are  directed  not  only  to  think,  but  to  spei^h,  ac- 
tertUnff  to  his  word,  Isa.  viii.  2Q. 

It  is  especially  profitable  to  acquaint  children  be- 
times with  their  Bibles,  and  to  ^how  them  thpir  reli- 
gion there.  Timothy's  catechism  was  the  Scripture, 
which  he  knew  awo  fipi^HQ—from  his  very  infancy, 
2  Tim.  iiL  1&  They  who  are  ready  and  mighty  in 
the  Scriptures,  will  be  thoroughly  furnished  for 
every  good  work,  and  thoroughly  fortified  against 
every  evil  work«  What  I  have  here  endeavoured, 
inay  (I  hope)  prove  a  good  expedient  for  this  pur- 
pose, obliging^  myself  to  produce  a  text  of  Scripture 
for  every  qaestion,  it  cannot  be  thought  they  should 
be  alike  apposite.  Perhaps  here  and  there  one  may 
be  found  that  is  diverted  from  its  primary  intention 
by  an  allusion  only,  (which  I  think  is  warranted  by 
divers  of  the  New-Testament  quotations  out  of  the 
Old,)  yet  I  hope  there  are  none  perverted.  Were  we 
more  conversant  with  the  inspired  writings,  we 
sboQld  (as  one  of  the  ancients  speaks)  *'  adore  the 
foloess  of  the  Scriptures."  I  have  quoted  the  texts 
as  concisely  as  I  (»uld,  in  hopes  the  diligent  reader, 
who  searches  tbe  Scripture  daily,  will  be  stirred  up 
to  look  further  into  the  places  referred  to,  which  be 

3k 


will  often  find  very  well  worth  his  while.  To  that 
end,  I  have  throughout  added  the  book,  chapter,  and 
verse ;  which  yet  it  is  needless  for  them  who  learn 
by  heart  to  trouble  themselves  with. 

To  the  service  of  such  ministers,  governors  of 
families,  and  other  Christians,  as  shall  see  cause  to 
make  use  of  such  a  help,  with  an  entire  dependence 
upon  the  grace  and  blessing  of  God,  for  the  accept- 
ableness  and  usefulness  of  it,  this  small  oblation  is 
humbly  tendered,  by  one  who  is  earnestly  desirous 
to  increase  in  Scripture  knowledge,  and  ambitious 
of  the  honour  of  being  any  way  instrumental  to 
p    paga    1 .  Matth.  Henry. 

Postscript  to  the  Third  Edition. 

I  am  willing  to  take  this  opportunity  to  advise  one 
thing  more  concerning  the  use  of  this  catechism, 
which  I  have  found  very  beneficial,  viz.  That  the 
learners  be  pnt  in  their  answers  to  turn  the  question 
into  a  proposition,  which  they  vrill  easily  do  vrith  a 
little  direction.  Example, — ^Is  man  a  reasonable  crea- 
ture ?  Yes :  man  is  a  reasonable  creature ;  for  tiiere 
is  a  spirit  in  man,  &o.  And  this  will  lead  them,  when 
the  question  gives  occasion  for  it,  to  make  applica- 
tion to  themselves.  Again,  Is  your  business  in  the 
world  to  serve  the  flesh  ?  No :  it  is  not  my  business 
in  the  world  to  serve  the  fl^h ;  for  we  are  not  debtors 
to  the  flesh. 


SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 

Q.  1.  What  is  the  chief  end  of  man? 
A.  Man's  chief  end  is  to  glorify  God,  and  enjoy 
him  for  ev^r. 

^ 

1.  Is  man  a  reasonable  creature?  Yes :  for  there 
is  a  spirit  in  man,  and  the  inspiration  of  the  Al- 
mighty giveth  him  understanding,  Job  xxxii.  8. 
Has  he  greater  capacities  than  the  brutes  ?  Yes :  for 
God  teacheth  us  more  than  the  beasts  of  the  earth, 
and  maketh  us  wiser  than  the  fowls  of  heaven.  Job 

XXXV.  11, 

2.  Is  man  his  own  maker  ?  No :  it  is  God  that 
hath  made  us,  and  not  we  oursehres,  Ps.  c.  3.  Is  he 
then  his  own  master  ?  No :  there  is  a  Lord  over  us, 
Ps.  xii.  4.  Is  he  his  own  carver?  No :  should  it  be 
according  to  thy  mind.  Job  xxxiv.  33.  Is  he  his  own 
end  ?  No :  for  none  of  us  lives  to  himself,  or  dies 
to  himself,  Rom,  xiv.  7, 

3.  Is  it  your  business  in  the  world  to  serve  the 
flesh?  No:  for  we  are  not  debtors  to  the  flesh,  that 
we  should  live  after  the  flesh,  Rom.  viii.  12.  Is  it 
to  pursue  the  world  ?  No :  for  we  are  not  of  the 
world,  John  xvii.  16. 

4.  I9  your  happinesji  bound  up  in  the  creature  7 


806 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


No :  for  all  is  vanity  and  vexation  of  spirit,  Eccl.  i. 
14.  Will  the  riches  of  the  world  make  yon  happy  ? 
No :  for  a  man's  life  consisteth  not  in  the  abundance 
of  the  things  which  he  possesseth,  Lake  xii.  15. 
Will  the  praise  and  applause  of  men  make  you 
happy  ?  No :  for  it  is  vain-glory.  Gal.  v.  26.  Will 
sport  and  pleasure  make  yon  happy  ?  No :  for  the 
wise  man  said  of  laughter,  It  is  mad,  and  of  mirth, 
What  doth  it  ?  Eccl.  ii.  2.  Can  the  gain  of  the  world 
make  you  happy  ?  No :  for  what  is  a  man  profited,  if 
he  gain  the  whole  world,  and  lose  his  own  soul  ? 
Matt.  xvi.  26. 

5.  Is  God  then  your  chief  end  ?  Yes :  for  of  him, 
and  through  him,  and  to  him,  are  all  things,  Rom.  xi. 
36.  Were  yon  made  for  him?  Yes:  this  people 
have  I  formed  for  myself,  Isa.  xliii.  21 .  Were  you  re- 
deemed for  him?  Yes :  ye  are  not  your  own,  for  ye 
are  bought  with  a  price,  I  Cor.  vi.  19,  20. 

6.  Is  it  your  chief  business  to  glorify  God  ?  Yes : 
we  must  glorify  God  in  our  body  and  in  our  spirit, 
which  are  God's,  1  Cor.  vi.  20.  Must  this  be  ulti- 
mately designed  in  ail  our  actions  ?  Yes :  do  all  to 
the  glory  of  God,  1  Cor.  x.  31.  Is  God  glorified  by 
our  praises?  Yes:  he  that  offers  praise,  glorifies 
me,  Ps.  1.  23.  And  is  he  glorified  by  our  works  ? 
Yes:  herein  is  my  Father  glorified,  that  ye  bear 
much  fruit,  John  xv.  8. 

7.  Is  God  your  chief  good  ?  Yes :  for  happy  is 
the  people  whose  God  is  the  Lord,  Ps.  cxliv.  16. 
Does  all  good  come  from  him  ?  Yes :  for  with  him 
is  the  fountain  of  life,  Ps.  xxxvi.  9.  And  is  all  good 
enjoyed  in  him  ?  Yes :  the  Lord  is  the  portion  of 
my  inheritance,  and  of  my  cup,  Ps.  xvi.  5. 

8.  Is  it  your  chief  happiness  then  to  have  God's 
favour?  Yes :  for  in  his  favour  is  life,  Ps.  xxx.  5. 
Is  that  the  most  desirable  good  ?  Yes  :  for  his  lov- 
ing-kindness is  better  than  life,  Ps.  Ixiii.  3.  Do  you 
desire  it  above  any  good  ?  Yes :  Lord,  lift  thou  up 
the  light  of  thy  countenance  upon  us,  Ps.  iv.  6,  7. 
And  should  you  g^ve  all  diligence  to  make  it  sure  ? 
Yes :  herein  we  labour,  that  whether  present  or  ab- 
sent, we  may  be  accepted  of  the  Lord,  2  Cor.  v.  9. 

9.  Is  communion  with  God  in  grace  here  the  best 
pleasure  ?  Yes :  it  is  good  for  me  to  draw  near  to 
God,  Ps.  Ixxiii.  28.  Is  the  vision  and  fruition  of 
God  in  glory  hereafter  the  best  portion  ?  Yes :  for 
in  his  presence  there  is  fulness  of  joy,  Ps.  xvi.  11. 
Will  you  therefore  set  your  heart  upon  this  chief 
good  ?  Yes :  Lord,  whom  have  I  in  heaven  but  thee? 
and  there  is  none  upon  earth  that  I  desire  besides 
thee  ;  when  my  flesh  and  my  heart  fail,  God  is  the 
strength  of  my  heart,  and  my  portion  for  ever,  Ps. 
Ixxiii.  25,26. 

Q.  2.  What  rule  ha»  Gad  given  to  direct  ue  how  we 
may  glorify  and  enjoy  him  ? 

A.  The  word  of  God  (which  is  contained  in  the 
Scriptures  of  the  Old  and  New  Testament)  is  the 


only  rule  to  direct  us  how  we  may  glorify  and  enjoy 
him. 


1 .  Do  we  need  a  rule  to  direct  us  to  our  chief  end  ? 
Yes :  for  we  all  like  sheep  have  gone  astray,  Isa. 
liii.  6.  Could  we  not  find  it  out  of  ourselves  ?  No : 
for  man  is  bom  like  the  wild  ass's  oolt.  Job  xi.  12. 

2.  Is  divine  revelation  necessary  to  religion  7  "Yes  : 
for  faith  comes  by  hearing,  and  hearing  by  the  word 
of  God,  Rom.  x.  17.  Is  not  the  light  of  natare  suffi- 
cient without  it?  No:  for  the  world  by  wisdom 
knew  not  God,  1  Cor.  i.  21.  Has  God  therefore 
given  us  a  revelation  ?  Yes :  he  hath  showed  thee, 
O  man,  what  is  good,  Mic.  vi.  3.  Was  there  reve- 
lation from  the  beginning  ?  Yes :  at  sundry  times, 
and  in  divers  manners,  God  spake  unto  the  fathers, 
Heb.  i.  1. 

3.  Are  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old  and  New  Testa- 
ment the  word  of  God,  and  a  divine  revelation? 
Yes:  for  all  Scripture  is  given  by  inspiration  of 
God,  2  Tim.  ili.  16.  Were  they  indited  by  the  blessed 
Spirit  ?  Yes :  for  holy  men  of  God  spake  as  they 
were  moved  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  2  Pet  i.  21.  Were 
they  confirmed  by  miracles  ?  Yes :  God  also  bear- 
ing them  witness  both  with  signs  and  wonders, 
Heb.  ii.  4.  Do  they  recommend  themselves  7  Y'^es : 
for  the  word  of  God  is  quick  and  powerful,  Heb.  iv. 
12.  Is  not  the  Bible  then  a  cheat  put  apon  the 
world  ?  No :  for  these  are  not  the  words  of  him  that 
hath  a  devil,  John  x.  21. 

4.  Was  the  book  of  the  Scripture  written  for  our 
use?  Yes:  whatsoever  things  were  written  afore- 
time, were  written  for  our  learning,  Rom.  xv.  4. 
And  is  it  of  great  use  ?  Yes :  for  it  is  profitable  for 
doctrine,  for  reproof,  for  correction,  for  instmction 
in  righteousness,  2  Tim.  iii.  16. 

6.  Are  the  Scriptures  the  great  support  of  our  re- 
ligion ?  Yes :  for  we  are  built  upon  the  foundation 
of  the  apostles  and  prophets,  Eph.  ii.  20.  Are  they 
the  standing  rule  of  our  faith  and  practice  ?  Yes ; 
we  must  have  recourse  to  the  law  and  to  the  testi* 
mony,  Isa.  viii.  20.  Are  they  the  only  mle  ?  Yes; 
for  other  foundation  can  no  man  lay,  1  Cor.  iii.  ii 
Are  they  our  guide  ?  Yes :  for  the  commandme 
is  a  lamp,  and  the  law  is  light,  Prov.  vi.  23.  1> 
they  show  us  the  way  to  heaven  and  happiness 
Yes :  for  in  them  we  think  we  have  eternal  life,  a 
they  are  they  which  testify  of  Christ,  John  v.  39. 

6.  Are  the  Scriptures  our  oracle  which  we  m 
consult  ?  Yes :  What  is  written  in  the  law,  how  rea 
est  thou?  Luke  x.  26.  Are  they  our  toaohsto 
which  we  must  try  by  ?  Yes :  if  they  speak  not  a 
cording  to  this  word,  it  is  because  there  is  no  lig 
in  them,  Isa.  viii.  20.  Are  they  the  weapons  of  o 
spiritual  warfare  ?  Yes :  Get  Uiee  hence,  Satan,  f< 
it  is  written.  Matt.  iv.  10.  Eph.  vi.  17. 

7.  Is. the  written  word  a  sufficient  rule  T  Yes :  fd 
the  law  of  the  Lord  is  perfect,  Ps.  xix.  7.  Is  tt  plainl 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


867 


Yes :  for  the  word  is  nigh  thee,  Rom.  x.  8.  Is  the 
cbmch's  authority  tiie  rule  of  our  faith  ?  No :  for 
oar  faith  shoald  not  stand  in  the  wisdom  of  men, 
1  Cor.  ii.  5.  May  we  depend  upon  unwritten  tradi- 
tions? No:  for  we  must  refuse  profane  and  old 
wives'  fables,  1  Tim.  iy.  7. 

8.  Will  the  written  word  be  the  rule  of  our  judg- 
ment hereafter  ?  Yes:  for  we  must  be  judged  by 
the  law  of  liberty.  Jam.  ii.  12.  Ought  we  therefore 
to  be  ruled  by  it  now  ?  Yes :  as  many  as  walk  ac- 
cording to  this  rule,  peace  shall  be  on  them.  Gal.  vi. 
16.  And  to  be  comforted  by  it  ?  Yes :  for  through 
patience  and  comfort  of  the  Scriptures  we  have  hope, 
Rom.  XT.  4. 

9.  Are  the  Scriptures  to  be  translated  into  vulgar 
toDgues  ?  Yes :  for  we  should  hear  them  speak  in 
oor  tongues  the  wonderful  works  of  God,  Acts  ii.  11. 
And  must  we  study  them?  Yes :  Search  the  Scrip- 
tures, John  T.  39.  And  labour  to  understand  them  ? 
Yes:  Understandest  thou  what  thou  readest?  Acts 
Tiii.  30.  And  must  we  rest  satisfied  with  this  reve- 
lation of  God's  will?  Yes:  for  if  we  believe  not 
Moses  and  the  prophets,  neither  would  we  be  per- 
snaded  though  one  rose  from  the  dead,  liuke  xvi. 
31.  Is  it  a  great  affront  to  God  to  neglect  his  word  ? 
Yes :  I  have  written  unto  them  the  great  things  of 
my  law,  but  they  were  counted  as  a  strange  thing, 
Hos.  viii.  12. 

10.  Must  little  children  get  the  knowledge  of  the 
Scripture  ?  Yes :  Timothy  is  commended  for  this, 
that  from  a  child  he  knew  the  Holy  Scriptures, 
2  Tim.  iii.  15.  And  must  their  parents  instruct 
them  therein  ?  Yes :  they  must  teach  them  diligently 
onto  their  children,  and  talk  of  them,  Deut.  vi.  7. 

11.  Must  we  all  love  the  word  of  God?  Yes:  O 
how  love  I  thy  law !  And  must  we  meditate  therein  ? 
Yes :  It  is  my  meditation  all  the  day,  Ps.  cxix.  97. 
And  will  this  be  to  our  own  advantage  ?  Yes :  for  it 
h  able  to  make  us  wise  to  salvation,  2  Tim.  iii  15. 

Q.  3.  What  do  the  Scriptures  principally  teach  ? 

A.  The  Scriptures  principally  teach,  what  man 
»  to  believe  concemiog  God,  and  what  duty  God 
requires  of  man. 

1.  Is  it  necessary  that  we  have  a  faith  concerning 
Ood?  Yes :  for  he  that  comes  to  God  must  believe 
that  he  is,  and  that  be  is  the  rewarder  of  them  that 
<iiligent]y  seek  him,  Heb.  xi.  6.  Can  we  have  that 
faith  without  being  taught  ?  No:  for  how  shall  they 
believe  in  him  of  whom  they  have  not  heard  ?  Rom. 
x- 14.  And  have  they  not  heard  ?  Yes :  verily  their 
iDond  went  into  all  the  earth,  an4  their  words  to  the 
ends  of  the  world,  Rom.  x.  18.     . 

2.  Is  not  the  knowledge  of  God  a  great  privilege  ? 
Yes :  for  this  is  life  eternal,  to  know  thee  the  only 
tmc  God,  John  xvii.  3.  Is  it  not  the  best  knowledge  ? 
Yes :  for  the  knowledge  of  the  Holy  is  understand- 
ing, Prov.  ix.  lO.     Does  the  Scripture  teach  us  that 

3i  2 


knowledge  ?  Yes :  for  if  we  receive  those  words,  and 
hide  those  commandments  with  us,  then  shall  we 
understand  the  fear  of  the  Lord,  and  find  the  know- 
ledge of  God,  Prov.  ii.  1,  5. 

3.  Do  not  the  works  of  creation  prove  that  there 
is  a  God  ?  Yes :  for  we  understand  by  the  things 
that  are  made  his  eternal  power  and  godhead,  Rom. 
i.  20.  And  do  not  the  works  of  providence  prove  it? 
Yes :  for  verily  there  is  a  God  that  judgeUi  in  the 
earth,  Ps.  Iviii.  11.  But  do  not  the  Scriptures 
tell  us  best  what  God  is  ?  Yes :  for  no  man  hath 
seen  God  at  any  time,  the  only-begotten  Son,  which 
is  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father,  he  hath  declared  him, 
John  i.  16. 

4.  Are  we  all  concerned  to  get  the  knowledge  of 
God  ?  Yes :  we  should  all  know  him,  from  tlie 
least  even  to  the  greatest,  Heb.  viii.  11.  Must  chil- 
dren get  that  knowledge  ?  Yes :  I  write  unto  yon 
little  children  because  you  have  known  the  Father, 
1  John  ii.  13.  And  must  we  all  (pow  in  that  know- 
ledge 1  Yes :  we  must  follow  on  to  know  the  Lord, 
Hos.  vi.  3. 

5.  Are  we  to  believe  what  the  Scripture  reveals 
concerning  God  ?  Yes :  for  these  things  are  written 
that  we  may  believe,  John  xx.  31.  And  must  we 
believe  all  that  the  Scripture  reveals  ?  Yes :  Believ- 
ing all  things  which  are  written  in  the  law  and  the 
prophets.  Acts  xxiv.  14.  Must  we  believe  that 
which  is  not  revealed  ?  No :  for  the  things  of  God 
knows  no  man,  but  the  Spirit  of  God,  1  Cor.  ii.  11. 

6.  Does  God  require  duty  of  man  ?  Yes :  for  unto 
man  he  said.  Behold  the  fear  of  the  Lord,  that  is 
wisdom ;  and  to  depart  from  evil,  that  is  understand- 
ing, Job  xxviii.  28.  Is  it  enough  to  believe  the 
truth  revealed,  if  we  do  not  the  duty  that  is  required  ? 
No:  for  faith  without  works  is  dead,  James  ii.  26.  Is 
it  enough  to  do  the  duty  required^  though  we  do  not 
believe  the  truth  revealed  ?  No :  for  he  that  believ- 
eth  not  God,  hath  made  him  a  liar,  1  John  v.  10. 

7.  Does  the  Scripture  teach  us  what  duty  God  re- 
quires ?  Yes :  He  has  showed  thee  what  the  Lord 
thy  God  requires  of  thee,  Mic.  vi.  8.  And  must  we 
do  the  duty  that  the  Scripture  teaches  ?  Yes :  we 
must  observe  to  do  according  to  all  that  is  written 
therein,  and  not  turn  from  it  to  the  right  hand,  or 
to  the  left.  Josh.  i.  7.  Must  this  obedience  always 
accompany  faith  ?  Yes :  for  they  which  have  be- 
lieved in  God  must  be  careful  to  maintain  good 
works,  Tit  iii.  8. 

Q.4.  What  ig  God? 

A.  God  is  a  Spirit,  infinite,  eternal,  and  unchange- 
able in  his  being,  wisdom,  power,  holiness,  justice, 
goodness,  and  truth. 

1.  Is  God  a  Spirit  ?  Yes :  for  Christ  himself  has 
said,  God  is  a  Spirit,  John  iv.  24.  Is  he  a  pure 
Spirit?  Yes:  for  God  is  light,  and  with  him  is  no 
darkness  at  all,  1  John  i.  5.    Has  he  a  body  as  we 


866 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


have  \  No  :  Hast  thou  eyes  of  flesh  ?  or  seest  thou 
as  a  man  seeth  ?  Joh  x.  4.  Can  he  be  seen  with 
bodily  eyes?  No:  for  he  is  one  whom  no  man 
hath  seen,  or  can  see,  1  Tim.  yi.  16.  Arb  not  the 
angels  spirits  ?  Yes :  he  maketh  his  angels  spirits, 
Ps.  civ.  4.  Are  not  the  souls  of  men  spirits  ?  Yes : 
for  he  formeth  the  spirit  of  man  within  him,  Zech. 
xii.  1.  But  is  God  a  Spirit  like  unto  them  ?  No : 
for  he  is  the  Father  of  spirits,  Heb.  xii.  9. 

2.  Is  God  infinite  ?  Yes :  for  we  cannot  by  search- 
ing find  out  God,  Job  xi.  7.  Is  he  contained  in  any 
place  ?  No :  for  the  heaven  of  heavens  cannot  con- 
tain him,  1  Kings  viii.  27.  Is  he  every  where  pre- 
sent ?  Yes :  for  whither  can  we  go  from  his  Spirit, 
or  flee  from  his  presence  ?  Ps.  cxxxix.  7.  Can  any 
hide  himself  in  secret  places  that  God  shall  not  see 
him  ?  No :  for  do  not  I  fill  heaven  and  earth,  saith 
the  Lord,  Jer.  xxiii.  24. 

3.  Is  God  eternal  ?  Yes :  from  everlasting  to  ever- 
lasting, thou  art  God,  Ps.  xc.  2.  Had  he  beginning 
of  days  ?  No :  for  he  is  the  Ancient  of  days,  Dan. 
vii.  9.  Shall  there  be  any  end  of  his  life  ?  No : 
for  he  is  the  same,  and  his  years  have  no  end,  Ps. 
cii.  27.  Is  there  with  him  any  succession  of  time  ? 
No :  for  his  days  are  not  as  the  days  of  man.  Job  x. 
5.  Can  he  die  ?  No :  he  is  the  only  potentate,  that 
hath  immortality,  1  Tim.  vi.  16. 

4.  Is  God  unchangeable  ?  Yes :  for  he  is  the  Fa- 
ther of  lights,  with  whom  is  no  variableness,  nor 
shadow  of  turning.  Jam.  i.  17.  Is  there  any  decay 
of  his  perfections  ?  No :  for  he  fainteth  not,  neither 
is  weary,  Isa.  xl.  528.  Is  there  any  alteration  in  his 
counsels  ?  No :  for  he  is  not  a  man  that  he  should 
repent,  1  Sam.  xv.  29.  Is  it  well  for  us  that  he  is 
unchangeable  ?  Yes :  I  am  the  Lord,  I  change  not, 
therefore  ye  sons  of  Jacob  are  not  consumed,  Mai. 
111.  6. 

5.  Is  God  infinite  in  his  being?  Yes:  for  he  has 
said,  I  AM  THAT  I  AM,  Exod.  iii.  14.  Is  he  self- 
existent?  Yes :  for  the  Father  hath  life  in  himself, 
John  V.  26.  Is  he  the  best  of  beings  ?  Yes :  for  who 
is  a  God  like  unto  him?  Exod.  xv.  11.  Is  he  the 
first  of  causes  ?  Yes :  for  he  is  the  Father,  of  whom 
are  all  things,  and  we  in  him,  1  Cor.  viii.  6.  Is  he 
the  highest  of  powers?  Yes:  for  he  is  King  of 
kings,  and  Lord  of  lords,  1  Tim.  vi.  15. 

6.  Is  he  a  God  of  perfect  knowledge  ?  Yes :  for 
his  understanding  is  infinite,  Ps.  cxlvii.  5.  Can 
any  thing  be  hid  from  him  ?  No :  for  all  things  are 
naked  and  opened  unto  the  eyes  of  him  with  whom 
we  have  to  do,  Heb.  iv.  13.  Does  he  know  things 
to  come  ?  Yes :  for  he  declareth  the  end  from  the 
beginning,  Isa.  xlvi.  10.  Does  he  know  our  hearts? 
Yes:  for  he  understandeth  our  thoughts  afar  off*, 
Ps.  cxxxix.  2.  Does  he  know  all  our  actions? 
Yes :  for  his  eyes  are  upon  the  ways  of  man,  Job 
xxxiv.  21. 

7.  Is  God  infinitely  wise  ?    Yes :  for  wisdom  and 


might  are  his,  Dan.  ii.  20.  Are  all  his  works  wisely 
done  ?  Yes :  in  wisdom  he  hath  made  them  all,  Ps. 
civ.  24.  And  particularly  the  work  of  redemptioD  ? 
Yes:  for  it  is  the  wisdom  of  God  in  a  mystery » 
1  Cor.  ii.  7.  Can  the  wisdom  of  God's  counsels  be 
fathomed?  No:  O  the  depth  of  the  riches  of  the 
wisdom  and  knowledge  of  God !  Rom.  xi.  33. 

8.  Is  he  a  God  of  power?  Yes :  God  hath  spoken 
once,  twice  have  I  heard  this,  that  power  belongeth 
unto  God,  Ps.  Ixii.  11.  Is  he  Almighty?  Tes:  he 
is  the  Lord  God  Almighty,  Rev.  xv.  3.  Is  bis  power 
irresistible  ?  Yes :  for  none  can  stay  his  hand,  Dan. 
iv.  35.  Is  his  sovereignty  incontestable  ?  Yes :  for 
he  giveth  not  account  of  any  of  his  matters.  Job 
xxxiii.  13.  Is  any  thing  too  hard  for  him  ?  No : 
for  with  God  all  things  are  possible,  Matt.  xix. 
26. 

9.  Is  he  a  God  of  perfect  holiness  ?  Yes :  for  holy, 
holy,  holy,  is  the  Lord  of  hosts,  Isa.  vi.  3.  Is  there 
iniquity  with  God?  No:  he  is  of  purer  eyes  than 
to  behold  iniquity,  Heb.  i.  13.  Is  this  his  glory? 
Yes:  for  he  is  glorious  in  holiness,  Exod.  xv.  11. 
And  must  we  give  him  the  glory  of  it  ?  Yes :  give 
thanks  at  the  remembrance  of  his  holiness,  Ps.  xxx. 
4.  And  must  we  study  herein  to  resemble  him? 
Yes :  Be  ye  holy,  for  I  am  holy,  1  Pet.  i.  16. 

10.  Is  he  a  just  and  righteous  Governor  ?  Yes : 
the  Lord  is  righteous  in  all  his  ways,  Ps.  exlv.  17. 
Did  he  ever  do  wrong  to  any  of  his  creatures  ?  No : 
there  is  no  unrighteousness  in  him,  Ps.  xcii.  15. 
And  does  justice  please  him  ?  Yes :  the  righteous 
Lord  loveth  righteousness,  Ps.  xi.  7. 

11.  Is  he  a  merciful  God?  Yes:  he  is  the  Lord, 
the  Lord  God,  merciful  and  gracious,  Exod.  xxxiv. 
6.  And  a  good  God?  Yes:  thou  art  good,  and 
dost  good,  Ps.  exix.  68.  Is  he  universally  good  ? 
Yes :  for  he  is  good  to  all,  and  his  tender  mercies 
are  over  all  his  works,  Ps.  cxlv.  9.  Is  he  in  a 
special  manner  good  to  his  own  people  ?  Yes :  for 
truly  God  is  good  to  Israel,  Ps.  Ixxiii.  1,  And 
should  we  acquaint  ourselves  with  his  goodness? 
Yes:  O  taste,  and  see  that  the  Lord  b  good,  Ps. 
xxxiv.  8. 

12.  Is  he  a  God  of  truth  ?  Yes :  the  truth  of  the 
Lord  endures  for  ever,  Ps.  cxvii.  2.  Will  he  per- 
form all  his  promises  ?  Yes :  for  he  is  faithful  that 
hath  promised,  Heb.  x.  23.  Is  there  any  danger  of 
his  deceiving  us  ?  No :  it  is  impossible  for  God  to 
lie,  Heb.  vi.  18. 

13.  Is  this  a  complete  description  of  God  ?  No : 
for,  lo,  these  are  but  parts  of  his  ways ;  and  how 
little  a  portion  is  heard  of  him!  Job  xxvi.  14. 
Must  we  therefore  always  speak  of  God  with  reve- 
rence ?  Yes :  for  behold  God  is  great,  and  we  know 
him  not.  Job  xxxvi.  26.  And  must  we  pray  to  him 
to  teach  us  what  we  shall  say  ?  Yes :  for  we  can- 
not order  our  speech  by  reason  of  darkness.  Job 
xxxvii.  19. 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


869 


Q.  5.  Are  there  more  gods  than  one. 

A.  There  is  but  one  only,  the  living  and  true  God. 

1.  Are  there  many  gods?  No:  for  though  there 
be  that  are  called  gods,  yet  there  is  but  one  God, 
1  Cor.  Tiii.  6,  6.  Can  there  be  but  one?  No:  for 
he  has  said,  I  am  God,  and  there  is  none  else ;  I  am 
God,  and  there  is  none  like  me,  Isa.  xlvi.  0.  Are 
yon  sure  there  is  but  one  ?  Yes :  for  the  Lord  our 
God  is  one  Lord,  and  there  is  none  other  but  he, 
Mark  xii.  29,  32. 

2.  Is  the  God  whom  we  serve  that  one  God? 
Tes :  for  Jehovah  he  is  God,  Jehovah  he  is  God, 
1  Kings  xviii.  39.  Is  he  infinitely  above  all  pre- 
tenders? Tes:  for  he  is  a  great  King  above  all 
gods,  Ps.  xcT.  3.  Is  he  God  alone  ?  Yes :  O  Lord 
of  hosts,  God  of  Israel,  thou  art  the  God,  even  thou 
alone,  Isa.  xxxvii.  16.  Are  all  other  gods  false 
gods?  Yes:  for  all  the  gods  of  the  nations  are 
idols,  but  the  Lord  made  the  heavens,  Ps.  xevi.  6. 

3.  Is  our  God  the  true  God  ?  Yes :  the  Lord  he  is 
the  true  God,  Jer.  x.  10.  Is  he  the  only  true  God  ? 
Yes :  this  is  life  eternal,  to  know  the  only  true  God, 
John  xvii.  3.  Is  he  the  living  God?  Yes:  the 
hring  God,  and  an  everlasting  King,  Jcr.  x.  10.  Is 
kethe  Sovereign  Lord?  Yes:  for  he  is  God  over 
all,  blessed  for  evermore,  Rom.  ix.  5.  Is  this  one 
God  enough?  Yes:  for  he  is  God  All-sufficient, 
Gen.  xvii.  1. 

4.  Is  the  Lord  Jehovah  the  maker  of  all  things  ? 
Tes :  he  is  the  everlasting  God,  even  the  Lord,  the 
Creator  of  the  ends  of  the  earth,  Isa.  xl.  28.  Is  he 
yoor  Maker  ?  Yes  :  he  is  the  Lord  our  Maker,  Ps. 
xcv.  6.  Is  he  the  owner  of  all  things  ?  Yes ;  for 
ke  is  the  most  high  God,  possessor  of  heaven  and 
earth.  Gen.  xiv.  19.  Is  he  your  rightful  owner? 
Tes :  we  are  the  people  of  his  pasture,  and  the  sheep 
of  his  hand,  Ps.  xcv.  7.  Is  he  the  ruler  of  all  things? 
Tes :  for  his  kingdom  ruleth  over  all,  Ps.  ciii.  19. 
Is  he  your  ruler?  Yes:  O  Lord,  truly  I  am  thy 
servant,  I  am  thy  servant,  Ps.  cxvi.  16.  Is  he  the 
benefactor  of  all  the  creatures  ?  Yes :  for  he  giveth 
to  all  life,  and  breath,  and  all  things.  Acts  xvii.  25. 
Is  be  your  benefactor?  Yes:  for  he  daily  loadeth 
V  with  his  benefits,  Ps.  Ixviii.  19.  Shall  he  there- 
lore  be  yours  by  your  own  consent  ?  Yes :  O  God, 
thou  art  my  God,  Ps.  Ixiii.  1. 

Q.  6.  How  many  persons  are  there  in  the  Godhead? 

A.  There  are  tbree  persons  in  the  Godhead  ;  the 
Father,  the  Son,  and  the  Holy  Ghost ;  and  these 
three  are  one  God ;  the  same  in  substance,  equal  in 
power  and  glory. 

I.  Are  there  three  gods?  No:  for  the  Lord  is 
one,  and  his  name  one,  Zech.  xiv.  9.  Is  there  more 
than  one  person  in  the  Godhead  ?  Yes :  for  God 
said.  Let  us  make  man,  Gen.  i.  26.  Are  there  dis- 
tioct  persons  in  tlie  Godhead  ?    Yes :  for  h6  who 


is  the  brightness  of  his  Father's  glory,  is  the  express 
image  of  his  person,  Heb.  i.  3.  Are  there  three 
persons  in  the  Godhead  ?  Yes :  for  there  arc  three 
that  bear  record  in  heaven,  the  Father,  the  Word, 
and  the  Holy  Ghost,  1  John  v.  7. 

2.  Is  the  Father  God  ?  Yes :  for  there  is  one  God 
and  Father  of  all,  Eph.  iv.  6.  Is  Jesus  Christ  the 
Word  ?  Yes :  his  name  is  called  the  Word  of  God, 
Rev.  xix.  13.  Is  the  Word  God  ?  Yes :  for  in  the 
beginning  was  the  Word,  and  the  Word  was  with 
God,  and  the  Word  was  God,  John  i.  1.  Is  the  Holy 
Ghost  a  divine  person  ?  Yes :  for  the  Spirit  search- 
eth  all  things,  1  Cor.  ii.  10. 

3.  Is  it  the  personal  property  of  the  Father  to  be- 
get the  Son  ?  Yes :  Thou  art  my  Son,  this  day  have 
I  begotten  thee,  Ps.  ii.  7.  Is  it  the  personal  pro- 
perty of  the  Son  to  be  begotten  of  the  Father  ?  Yes : 
for  he  is  the  only-begotten  of  the  Father,  John  i.  14. 
Is  it  the  personal  property  of  the  Holy  Ghost  to 
proceed  from  the  Father  and  the  Son  ?  Yes :  for 
Christ  says,  I  will  send  you  the  Comforter,  even  the 
Spirit  of  truth,  which  proceedeth  from  the  Father, 
John  XV.  26. 

4.  Are  these  three  one  God  ?  Yes :  for  it  is  said 
expressly,  these  three  are  one,  1  John  v.  7.  Are 
they  the  same  in  substance,  and  equal  in  power  and 
glory  ?  Yes :  for  Christ  says,  I  and  my  Father  are 
one,  John  x.  30.  Can  this  doctrine  be  measured  by 
reason  ?  No :  for  flesh  and  blood  hath  not  revealed 
it  to  us,  Matt  xvi.  17.  But  ought  we  to  believe  it  ? 
Yes :  for  we  are  baptized  in  the  name  of  the  Father, 
and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  Matt, 
xxviii.  19.  and  we  are  blessed  with  the  grace  of 
the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  the  love  of  God,  and  the 
communion  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  2  Cor.  xiii.  14.  And 
ought  we  to  improve  it?  Yes :  that  we  all  may  be 
one,  as  the  Father  is  in  Christ,  and  he  in  the  Father, 
that  we  also  may  be  one  in  them,  John  xvii.  21 . 

Q.  7.  What  are  the  decrees  of  God? 

A.  The  decrees  of  God  are  his  eternal  purposes, 
according  to  the  counsel  of  his  own  will :  whereby 
for  his  own  glory  he  hath  fore-ordained  whatever 
comes  to  pass. 

'  1.  Does  God  dispose  of  all  things  that  come  to 
pass  ?  Yes :  My  times  are  in  thy  hand,  Ps.  xxxi. 
15.  Does  he  do  it  according  to  his  own  will :  Yes : 
for  he  hath  done  whatsoever  he  pleased,  Ps.  cxv. 
2.  Can  any  control  his  will?  No:  for  he  doth 
according  to  his  will  in  the  armies  of  heaven,  and 
among  the  inhabitants  of  the  earth,  Dan.  iv.  35. 
Has  he  determined  before  what  he  will  do  ?  Yes : 
for  known  unto  God  are  all  his  works,  from  the 
beginning  of  the  worid.  Acts  xv.  18. 

2.  Is  there  a  counsel  then  in  all  the  will  of  God  ? 
Yes :  for  he  worketh  all  things  after  the  counsel  of 
his  own  will,  Eph.  i.  11.  Is  it  an  eternal  counsel  ? 
Yes :  for  it  was  ordained  before  the  world,  I  Cor. 


870 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATEC/IISM. 


ii.  7.  Isitfree?  Yes:  Even  so  Father,  for  so  it  seemed 
good  in  thy  sight.  Matt.  xi.  26.  Is  it  unchangeable  ? 
Yes :  the  counsel  of  the  Lord  standeth  for  ever,  Ps. 
xxxiii.  11.  Is  it  for  his  own  glory  ?  Yes :  that  we 
should  be  to  the  praise  of  his  glory,  Eph.  i.  12. 

Were  all  the  events  of  time  ordained  from  eter- 
nity? Yes:  He  performeth  the  thingthat  is  appointed 
for  me.  Job  xxiii.  14.  Does  any  thing  come  to 
pass  by  chance }  No :  for  the  lot  is  cast  into  the  lap ; 
but  the  whole  disposing  thereof  is  of  the  Lord,  Prov. 
xvi.  33.  Does  every  thing  come  to  pass  as  God 
has  ordained  it  ?  Yes :  for  there  are  many  devices 
in  a  man's  heart ;  nevertheless  the  counsel  of  the 
Lord,  that  shall  stand,  Prov.  xix.  21. 

4.  Can  we  search  out  God's  counsels  ?  No :  for 
his  judgments  are  a  great  deep,  Ps.  xxxvi.  6.  Ought 
we  not  therefore  to  acquiesce  in  them?  Yes:  Here 
am  I,  let  him  do  to  me  as  seemeth  good  unto  him,  2 
Sam.  XV.  26.  May  we  question  God's  proceedings  ? 
No:  for  his  thoughts  are  above  our  thoughts,  Isa. 
Iv.  9. 

Q.  8.  How  does  God  execute  his  decrees  ? 
A.  God  executes  his  decrees  in  the  works  of 
creation  and  providence. 

1.  Shall  all  God's  decrees  be  executed?  Yes: 
for  the  Lord  of  hosts  hath  sworn,  surely  as  I  have 
thought,  so  shall  it  come  to  pass,  Isa.  xiv.  24.  Can 
any  of  them  be  defeated  ?  No:  forthe  Lord  of  hosts 
hath  purposed,  and  who  shall  disannul  it  ?  Isa.  xiv. 
27.  Did  God  execute  his  decree  in  the  work  of 
creation  ?  Yes :  he  hath  created  all  things,  and  for 
his  pleasure  they  are  and  were  created,  Rev.  iv.  11. 
And  does  he  execute  his  decrees  in  the  works  pf 
Providence?  Yes:  for  out  of  the  mouth  of  the  Most 
High  both  evil  and  good  proceed.  Lam.  iii.  36. 

2.  Did  God  begin  to  work  in  the  creation  of  the 
world  ?  Yes :  Thou,  Lord,  in  the  beginning  didst  lay 
the  foundations  of  the  earth,  Heb.  i.  10.  Is  he  still 
working  ?  Yes :  for  Christ  says.  My  Father  work- 
eth  hitherto,  and  I  work,  John  v.  17.  Are  all  his 
worics  copied  out  of  his  counsels  ?  Yes :  for  they 
are  what  his  hand  and  his  counsel  determine  be- 
fore to  be  done.  Acts  iv.  28. 

3.  Are  God's  works  many  ?  Yes :  O  Lord,  how 
manifold  are  thy  works!  Ps.  civ.  24.  Are  they 
great  ?  Yes :  his  work  is  honourable  and  glorious, 
Ps.  cxi.  3.  Are  they  perfect  in  their  kiud  ?  Yes : 
God  is  the  Rock,  his  work  is  perfect,  Deut.  xxxii.  4. 
Can  they  be  amended  ?  No :  whatsoever  God  doth, 
nothing  can  be  put  to  it,  nor  any  thing  taken  from 
it,  Eccl.  iii.  14.  Ought  they  to  be  studied  ?  Yes : 
They  are  sought  out  of  all  them  that  have  pleasure 
therein,  Ps.  cxi.  2.  Is  it  a  great  sin  to  neglect  them  ? 
Yes :  because  they  regard  not  the  work  of  the  Lord, 
neither  consider  the  operation  of  his  hands,  he  shall 
destroy  them,  and  not  build  them  up,  Ps.  xxviii.  5. 


No  #  for  no  man  can  find  oat  the  work  that  Ood 
makes  from  the  beginning  to  the  end,  EccL  iii.  11. 
Can  his  designs  in  them  be  accounted  for?  No: 
for  his  way  is  in  the  sea,  and  his  path  in  Che  g^reat 
waters,  Ps.  Ixxvii.  19.  But  is  he  glorified  in  them  ? 
Yes :  all  his  works  do  praise  him,  Ps.  cxiv.  10. 

.  Q.  9.  What  is  the  worh  of  creation  f 

A.  The  work  of  creation  is  God's  making  all 
things  of  nothing,  by  the  word  of  his  power,  in  the 
space  of  six  days,  and  all  very  good. 

1.  Did  God  create  the  world  ?  Yes:  in  the  be- 
ginning God  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth.  Gen. 
i.  1 .  Did  he  create  every  thing  in  the  world  ?  Yes : 
for  without  him  was  not  any  thing  made  that  was 
made,  John  i.  3.  John  xii.  7—9.  Did  he  create  the 
world  by  his  word  ?  Yes :  for  through  faith  we  un- 
derstand that  the  worlds  were  framed  by  the  ipvord 
of  God,  Heb.  xi.  3.  Did  all  things  come  into  being 
by  that  word  ?  Yes :  for  by  the  word  of  God  the 
heavens  were  of  old,  2  Pet  iii.  5.  And  are  they 
thereby  preserved  in  being?  Yes:  by  the  same 
word  they  are  kept  in  store,  v,  7.  Did  God  find  any 
difllculty  in  making  the  world  ?  No :  for  he  spake 
and  it  was  done ;  he  said.  Let  there  be  light,  and 
there  was  light,  Ps.  xxxiii.  9.  Gen.  i.  3.  Did  he 
need  assistance  in  it  ?  No :  for  he  stretcheth  forth 
the  heavens  alone,  and  spreadeth  abroad  the  earth 
by  himself,  Isa.  xliv.  24. 

2.  Did  he  make  all  out  of  nothing  ?  Yes :  for  the 
things  which  are  seen  were  not  made  of  the  things 
which  do  appear,  Heb.  xi.  13.  Did  he  bring  light 
out  of  darkness?  Yes:  for  God  commanded  the 
light  to  shine  out  of  darkness,  2  Cor.  iv.  6.  And 
order  out  of  confusion?  Yes:  for  the  earth  was 
without  form  and  void,  Gen.  i.  2.  Did  he  make  all 
in  six  days?  Yes:  for  in  six  days  the  Lord  made 
heaven  and  earth,  Exod.  xx.  1 1 .  Did  God  make  all 
well  ?  Yes :  God  saw  every  thing  that  he  had 
made,  and  behold  it  was  very  good.  Gen.  i.  31. 
Did  he  make  all  firm?  Yes:  he -hath  made  a  de- 
cree which  shall  not  pass,  Ps.  cxlviii.  6.  And  all 
for  himself?  Yes:  the  Lord  has  made  all  things 
for  himself,  Prov.  xvi.  4. 

3.  Did  God  make  all  things  by  Jesus  Christ  ? 
Yes :  for  by  him  also  he  made  the  worlds,  Heb.  i.  2. 
and  created  all  things  by  Jesus  Christ,  Eph.  iii.  9. 
Col.  i.  16.  John  i.  iii.  Did  God  manifest  his  own 
perfections  in  the  work  of  creation  ?  Yes :  for  the 
heavens  declare  the  glory  of  God,  Ps.  xix.  1.  Must 
we  give  him  the  glory  of  this  work  ?  Yes :  we  must 
worship  him  that  made  the  heaven  and  the  earth. 
Rev.  xiv.  7.  Most  we  give  him  thanks  for  his  crea- 
tures ?  Yes :  every  creature  of  God  is  good,  and  to 
be  received  with  thanksgiving,  1  Tim.  iv.  4.  May 
we  be  encouraged  by  the  work  of  creation  to  trast  in 
God?    Yes:  My  help  cometh  from  the  Lord  which 


4.  Can  all  God's  works  be  thoroughly  discovered  ?  |  made  heaven  and  earth,  Ps.  cxxi.  2. 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


871 


4.  Did  God  create  the  angels  ?  Yes :  He  maketh 
his  aogrels  spirits,  Heb.  i.  7.  Are  tbey  attendaots 
upon  him?  Yes:  thousand  thousands  minister 
onto  him,  and  teo  thousand  times  ten  thousand 
stand  before  him,  Dan.  vii.  10.  Are  they  employed 
for  the  good  of  the  saints?  -Yes:  they  are  sent 
forth  to  minister  for  them  which  shall  be  heirs  of 
salvation,  Heb.  i.  14.  Have  true  believers  commu- 
nion with  them  in  faith,  hope,  and  love  ?  Yes :  for 
we  are  come  to  an  innumerable  company  of  angels, 
Heb.  xii.  22. 

5.  Did  all  tbe  angels  continue  in  their  integrity  ? 
No:  There  were  angels  that  left  their  first  state. 
Jade  6.  Is  it  probable  that  they  who  fell,  fell  by 
pride  ?  Yes :  for  tbey  that  are  lifted  up  with  pride, 
fall  into  the  condemnation  of  the  devil,  1  Tim.  iii. 
6.  Were  they  panisbed  for  their  sin  ?  Yes :  God 
spared  not  the  angels  that  sinned,  but  cast  them 
down  to  hell,  2  Pet.  ii.  4. 

Q.  10.  How  did  God  create  man  ? 

A.  God  created  man  male  and  female,  after  his 
ima^e,  in  knowledge,  righteousness,  and  holiness, 
with  dominion  over  the  creatures. 

1.  Is  man  God's  creature  ?  Yes :  for  we  are  also 
his  offspring.  Acts  xvii.  28.  Were  our  first  parents 
the  work  of  his  hands?  Yes:  male  and  female 
created  he  them,  and  called  their  name  Adam,  Gen. 
V.  2.  Was  man  made  with  a  consultation  ?  Yes : 
for  God  said,  LiCt  us  make  man,  Gen.  i.  26.  Do  all 
tbe  children  of  men  descend  from  Adam  and  Eve  ? 
Yes :  for  God  bas  made  of  one  blood  all  nations  of 
men.  Acts  xvii.  26.  .  .^ 

2.  Was  man's  body  at  first  made  out  of  the  earih  ? 
Yes :  God  made  man  of  the  dust  of  the  ground,  Gen. 
ii.  7.  And  are  our  bodies  of  the  earth  earthy  ?  Yes : 
for  I  also  am  formed  out  of  the  clay,  Job  xxxiii.  6. 
Batare  they  not  curiously  wrought?  Yes:  for  I  am 
fearfully  and  wonderfully  made,  Ps.  cxxxix.  14. 
Is  God  tbe  former  of  our  bodies?  Yes:  Thou  hast 
clothed  me  with  skin  and  flesh,  and  fenced  me  with 
bones  and  sinews.  Job  x.  11.  Is  he  the  author  of 
our  senses  ?  Yes :  the  hearing  ear,  and  seeing  eye, 
tbe  Lord  has  made,  even  both  of  them,  Prov.  xx.  12. 

3.  Is  God  the  Father  of  our  spirits  ?  Yes :  for  he 
breathed  into  man's  nostrils  the  breath  of  life,  Gen. 
ii.  7.  Has  God  given  each  of  us  a  soul  ?  Yes :  The 
Lord  liveth  that  made  us  this  soul,  Jer.  xxxviii.  16. 
b  it  a  rational  soul  ?  Yes :  for  the  spirit  of  a  man 
is  the  candle  of  the  Lord,  Prov.  xx.  27.  Is  it  im- 
mortal ?  Yes :  for  the  spirit  of  a  man  goes  upward, 
Ecci.  iii.  21.  Does  it  die  with  the  body  ?  No:  for 
when  the  dost  returns  to  the  earth  as  it  was,  the 
Spirit  returns  to  God  who  gave  it,  Eccl.  xii.  7.  Is 
God  then  the  Sovereign  of  the  heart  ?  Yes :  for  he 
has  said.  Behold,  all  souls  are  mine,  Ezek.  xviii.  4. 
)f  Qst  we  therefore  commit  our  souls  to  him  ?  Yes : 
Into  thine  hand  I  commit  my  spirit,  Ps.  xxxi.  5. 


4.  Was  man  made  after  God's  image?  Yes: 
God  created  man  in  his  own  image,  Gen.  i.  27.  Did 
that  image  consist  in  knowledge  ?  Yes :  for  we  are 
renewed  in  knowledge  after  the  image  of  him  that 
created  us.  Col.  iii.  10.  Did  it  consist  in  righteous- 
ness and  true  holiness  ?  Yes :  for  the  new  man  after 
God  is  created  in  righteousness  and  true  holiness, 
Eph.  iv.  24.  Was  there  in  man  at  first  a  perfect 
purity  and  freedom  from  sin  ?  Yes:  Thou  wast  per- 
fect in  thy  ways  from  the  day  that  thou  wast  created, 
Ezek.  xxviii.  15.  compare  xvi.  13.  Was  there  in 
him  a  perfect  rectitude  and  disposition  to  good? 
Yes :  for  God  made  man  upright,  Eccl.  vii.  29.  Are 
there  some  remains  of  God's  image  still  upon  man  ? 
Yes :  for  men  are  made  after  the  similitude  of  God, 
Jam.  iii.  9.  Was  man  made  with  a  dominion  over 
the  creatures  ?  Yes :  for  thou  hast  put  all  things 
under  his  feet^  Ps.  viii.  6.  Have  we  not  reason  to 
admire  God's  favour  to  man  ?  Yes :  Lord,  what  is 
man,  that  thou  art  mindful  of  him  7  Ps.  cxiiv.  3. 

Q.  11.  What  are  God^sworJu  of  providence? 

A.  God's  works  of  providence  are  his  most  holy, 
wise,  and  powerful  preserving  and  governing  all  bis 
creatures,  and  all  their  actions. 

1.  When  God  had  made  the  world,  did  he  leave 
it  to  itself?  No :  for  he  upholdeth  all  things  by  the 
word  of  his  power,  Heb.  i.  3.  Does  he  see  to  the  whole 
creation?  Yes :  for  the  eyes  of  the  Lord  are  in  every 
place,  Prov.  xv.  3.  Does  he  condescend  to  take 
notice  of  his  creatures?  Yes:  he  humbleth  him- 
self to  behold  the  things  that  are  in  heaven  and  in 
the  earth,  Ps.  oxiii.  6.  Is  any  thing  at  a  distance 
from  him  ?  No :  for  he  is  not  far  from  every  one  of 
us,  Acts  xvii.  27.  Does  he  look  on  as  one  uncon- 
cerned ?  No :  for  his  eyes  behold,  and  his  eyelids 
try,  the  children  of  men,  Ps.  xi.  4. 

2.  Does  God  look  after  the  world  of  angels  ?  Yes : 
for  he  maketh  peace  in  his  high  places.  Job  xxv.  2. 
Does  he  look  after  this  lower  world  ?  Yes :  for  the 
eyes  of  all  wait  upon  him,  Ps.  oxlv.  15.  Does  he 
take  care  of  the  fowls?  Yes :  our  heavenly  Father 
feedeth  them,  Matt.  vi.  26.  What !  even  the  spar- 
rows? Yes :  not  one  of  them  shall  fall  to  the  ground 
without  our  Father,  Matt.  x.  29.  What!  and  the 
ravens?  Yes:  he  feeds  the  young  ravens  which 
cry,  Ps.  cxlvii.  9.  Is  he  the  Protector  and  Bene- 
factor of  all  the  creatures  ?  Yes :  Thou  preservest 
them  all,  Neh.  ix.  6.  Is  he  man's  Protector  and 
Benefactor?  Yes:  for  in  him  we  live,  and  move, 
and  have  our  being.  Acts  xvii.  28.  Do  we  depend 
upon  God  for  tbe  support  of  our  life  ?  Yes :  for  he 
holdeth  our  soul  in  life,  Ps.  Ixvi.  9.  And  for  the  com- 
forts of  life  ?  Yes  :  for  he  giveth  us  rain  from 
heaven,  and  fruitful  seasons,  filling  our  hearts  with 
food  and  gladness,  Acts  xiv.  17.  And  do  we  depend 
upon  him  for  the  safety  of  our  life  ?  Yes :  he  keep- 
eth  all  our  bones,  Ps.  xxxiv.  20.    And  for  the  con- 


972 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


tinaance  of  life  ?    Yes :  for  be  is  tbjr  lifd^,  and  the 
length  of  thy  days,  Deut  xxx.  20. 

3.  Does  God  govern  all  things  ?  Tes :  his  king- 
dom raleth  over  all,  Ps.  ciii.  19.  Does  he  govern 
the  holy  angels  ?  Yes :  fbr  they  do  his  command- 
ments, Ps.  ciii.  20.  Does  he  govern  the  heavenly 
bodies  ?  Yes  :  the  stars  in  their  courses  fought 
against  Sisera,  Judg.  v.  20.  Does  he  govern  the 
power  of  the  air  ?  Y^s :  stormy  winds  fulfil  his  word, 
Ps.  cxlviii.  8.  Does  he  order  what  weather  it  shall 
be  ?  Yes :  for  he  saith  to  the  snow,  Be  thou  u|K>n 
the  earth.  Job  xxxvii.  6.  And  does  he  gOvem  the 
inferior  creatures  ^  Yes :  he  spake,  and  locusts  came, 
Ps.  cv.  34.  Can  he  command  them  ?  Yes :  I  have 
commanded  the  ravens  to  feed  thee,  1  Kings  xvii.  4. 
Can  he  control  them?  Yes:  he  shut  the  lions' 
mouths,  Dan.  vi.  22.  Has  he  a  sovereign  dominion 
over  the  whole  creation?  Yes:  fbr  the  Lord  of 
hosts  is  his  name,  Isa.  xlvii.  4. 

4.  Does  God  govern  the  children  of  men  ?  Yes : 
the  Most  High  ruleth  in  the  kingdom  of  men,  Dan. 
iv.  32.  Does  he  govern  kings  ?  Yes :  ^or  the  king's 
heart  is  in  the  hand  of  the  LordyProv.  xxi.  1.  And 
does  he  govern  kingdoms  ?  Yes :  for  he  is  the  Go- 
vernor among  the  nations,  Ps.  xxii.  28.  And  fami- 
lies too  ?  Yes :  for  except  the  Lord  build  the  house, 
they  labour  in  vain  that  build  it,  Ps.  cxxvii.  1. 
Does  he  govern  great  men  ?  Yes :  for  God  is  the 
judge,  he  puts  down  one,  and  sets  up  another,  Ps. 
Ixxv.  6,  7.  And  mean  men  too  ?  Yes  :  for  every 
Inan's  judgment  proceedeth  from  the  Lord,  Prov. 
xxix.  26.  Can  man  make  his  own  fortune  ?  No : 
for  the  way  of  man  is  not  in  himself,  neither  is  it  in 
man  that  walketh,  to  direct  his  steps,  Jer.  x.  23. 
When  man  purposes,  does  God  dispose  ?  Yes :  a 
man's  heart  deviseth  his  way,  but  the  Lord  directeth 
his  steps,  Prov.  xvi.  9.  Do  all  comforts  and  crosses 
come  from  God's  hand  ?  Yes :  for  he  has  said,  I 
make  peace,  and  create  evil ;  I  the  Lord  do  all  these 
things,  Issc.  xlv.  7.  Does  God's  providence  extend 
itself  to  the  smallest  things  ?  Yes :  The  very  hairs  of 
your  head  are  all  numbered.  Matt  x.  30. 

5.  Is  God's  government  holy  ?  Yes :  he  is  holy 
in  all  his  works,  Ps.  cxlV.  17.  Is  it  wise  ?  Yes :  he 
is  wonderful  in  counsel,  and  excellent  in  working, 
Isa.  xxviii.  29k  Is  it  powerful  ?  Yes*,  for  when 
he  giveth  quietness,  who  then  can  make  trouble. 
Job  xxxiv.  29.  Is  it  rightful  ?  Yes :  God  is  greater 
than  man.  Job  xxxiil.  12.  Is  it  just }  Yes :  for 
shall  not  the  Judge  of  all  the  earth  do  right  ?  Gen. 
xviii.  25.  Does  God  sometimes  reward  and  punish 
in  this  life  ?  Yes :  the  righteous  shall  be  recom- 
pensed in  the  earth,  much  more  the  wicked  and  the 
sinner,  Prov.  xi.  31.  But  does  he  always?  No: 
for  all  things  come  alike  to  all,  Eccl.  ix.  1, 2. 

6.  Does  God  govern  the  world  (br  the  good  of  his 
church  ?  Yes :  for  Jacob  my  servant's  sake,  and 
Israel  mine  elect,  I  have  called  thee  by  thy  name. 


Isa.  xlv.  4;  Is  the  government  of  the  world  com  - 
mitted  to  the  Lord  Jesus  ?  Yes :  for  he  is  he^d 
over  ail  things  unto  the  church,  Eph.  i.  22.  And  is 
all  ordered  for  God's  glory  ?  Yes :  for  the  Lord 
alone  shall  be  exalted,  Isa.  ii.  11.  Is  it  a  comfort 
to  good  men  that  God  governs  the  world  ?  Yes : 
The  Lord  reigns,  let  the  earth  rejoice,  Ps.  xcvii.  1. 
Is  it  a  terror  to  the  wicked  ?  Yes :  The  Lord  reigns, 
let  the  people  tremble,  Ps.  xcix.  1.  Ought  we  to 
give  him  the  praise  of  it  ?  Yes :  Hallelujah,  the 
Lord  God  omnipotent  reigns.  Rev.  xix.  6. 

Q.  12.  What  spetial  act  of  providence  did  God 
exercise  towards  man  in  the  estate  wherein  ke  was 
created  i 

A.  When  God  had  created  man,  he  entered  into 
a  covenant  of  life  with  him,  upon  condition  of  per- 
fect obedience,  forbidding  him  to  eat  of  the  tree  of 
knowledge  of  good  and  evil,  upon  pain  of  death. 

1.  Did  God  make  man  happy  as  well  as  holy  > 
Yes :  for  he  put  him  into  the  garden  of  Eden,  Gen. 
ii.  15.  Did  he  provide  comfortably  for  him  ?  Yes : 
for  he  said,  I  will  make  him  a  help  meet  for  him. 
Gen.  ii.  18.  Did  he  admit  him  into  communion 
with  himself  ?  Yes :  fOr  he  then  blessed  the  seventh 
day,  and  sanctified  it.  Gen.  ii.  3.  Was  God  well 
pleased  In  him  ?  Yes :  for  his  delights  were  with 
the  sons  of  men,  Prov.  viii.  31. 

2.  Did  God  give  him  a  laW  ?  Yes:  the  Lord  God 
commanded  the  man.  Gen.  ii.  16.  Did  he  give  him 
a  command  of  trial  ?  Yes :  Of  the  tree  of  know- 
ledge of^good  and  evil  thou  shalt  not  eat  of  it.  Gen. 
ii#  17.  Did  he  assure  him  of  happiness,  if  he  obey- 
ed ?  Yed :  for  of  every  tree  in  the  garden  (even  the 
tree  of  life)  thou  mayest  freely  eat.  Gen.  ii.  16.  Did 
he  threaten  death  upon  his  disobedience  ?  Yes  : 
for  in  the  day  thou  eatest  thereof,  thou  shalt  surely 
die,  Gdn.  ii.  17. 

3.  Was  this  God's  covenant  with  Adam  ?  Yes : 
for  we  read  of  those  who,  like  Adam,  transgressed 
the  covenant,  Hos.  vi.  7.  niarg.  Was,  Do  this  and 
live,  one  branch  of  that  covenant  ?  Yes :  for  the 
man  that  doeth  them,  shall  live  in  them,  Gal.  iii.  12. 
Was,  Fail  and  die,  the  other  branch  of  the  covenant? 
Yes :  the  soul  that  sinneth,  it  shall  die,  Ezek.  xviii. 
4.  Was  this  the  covenant  of  innocency  ?  Yes :  for 
the  law  was  not  of  faith.  Gal.  iii.  12.  Was  there  a 
mediator  of  this  covenant  ?  No :  for  it  is  the  better 
covenant  that  is  established  in  the  hands  of  a  Medi- 
ator, Heb.  viii.  6. 

Q.  13.  Did  our  first  parents  continue  in  the  state 
wherein  they  were  first  created  ?  ^ 

A.  Our  first  parents  being  left  to  the  freedom  of 
their  own  will,  fell  from  the  state  wherein  they  were 
created,  by  sinning  against  God. 

1.  Is  man  now  in  the  state  wherein  he  was  cre- 
ated ?    No :  for  God  made  man  upright ;  but  they 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


873 


lave  sought  out  many  inventions,  Eccl.  vii.  29.  Can 
Ke  now  say  we  are  perfectly  holy  ?  No :  If  I  say  I 
ata  perfect,  that  shall  prove  me  perverse^  Job  ix.  20. 
Can  we  say  we  are  perfectly  happy  ?  No :  for  man 
is  k>ra  to  trouble.  Job  v.  7.  Are  we  as  we  were 
then  ?  No :  man  was  planted  a  noble  vine,  bnt  is 
tamed  into  the  degenerate  plant  of  a  strange  vine, 
Jer.  ii.  21.  Did  man  continue  long  in  his  state  of 
ionocence  ?  No :  For  man  being  in  honour  abideth 
Dot,  Ps.  xiil.  12. 

2.  Did  God  leave  man  to  the  freedom  of  his  own 
will  ?  Yes :  For  if  thou  scornest,  thou  alone  shall 
bear  it,  Prov.  ix.  12.  Did  God  draw  A.dam  to  sin  ? 
No :  for  Grod  tempteth  no  man,  James  i.  13.  Is  he 
any  way  the  Anthor  of  sin  ?  No :  far  be  it  from  God 
tbat  he  should  do  wickedness.  Job  xxxiv.  10.  Did 
be  do  what  was  fit  to  be  done  to  prevent  it?  Yes : 
What  could  have  been  done  more  to  my  vineyard  ? 
Isa.  y.  4.  Was  he  obliged  to  do  more  ?  No :  for 
maj  be  not  do  what  he  will  with  his  own  ?  Matt 
XX.  15.  Does  all  the  blame  of  man's  sin  lie  upon 
himself  theli  ?  Yes :  O  Israel,  thou  hast  destroyed 
thyself,  Hos.  xiii.  9. 

3.  Did  man  fall  by  sinning  against  God  T  Yes : 
ThoQ  hast  fallen  by  thine  iniquity,  Hos.  xiv.  1. 
Was  that  the  beginning  of  sin  in  this  world  ?  Yes : 
for  by  one  man  sin  entered  into  the  world,  Rom. 

T.  12. 

Q.  14.  What  w  sin  ? 

A.  Sin  is  any  want  of  conformity  nnto,  or  trans- 
gression of,  the  law  of  God. 

1.  Is  there  a  moral  difference  of  good  and  evil  ? 
Yes:  for  we  must  cease  to  do  evil,  and  learn  to  do 
veil,  Isa.  i.  16,  17.  Is  it  all  alike  then  what  we  do  ? 
No:  for  God  shall  bring  every  work  into  judgment, 
whether  it  be  good,  or  whether  it  be  evil,  Eccl.  xii. 
14.  Is  there  such  a  thing  as  sin  in  thought  ?  Yes : 
for  the  thought  of  foolishness  is  sin,  Prov.  xxiv.  9. 
May  sin  be  committed  in  Word  too  t  Yes :  for  in 
the  multitude  of  words  there  wattteth  not  sin,  Prov. 
1.19. 

2.  Does  sin  suppose  a  law?  Yes :  fbr  where  there 
is  no  law,  theilB  is  no  transgression,  Rom.  iv.  15.  and 
^- 13.  Is  sin  the  breach  of  a  law  ?  Yes :  for  sin  is 
the  transgression  of  the  law,  1  John  ill.  4.  Is  it 
^'s  law  only  that  can  make  a  thing  to  be  sin  ? 
Yes :  For  aguinst  thee,  thee  only,  have  I  sinned,  Ps. 
li.  4.  Is  every  breach  of  God's  law  sin  ?  Yes :  for 
all  aorighteousbess  is  sin,  1  John  V.  17.  Are  we  to 
JQdge  of  sin  by  the  law  ?  Tes :  for  by  the  law  is  the 
knowledge  of  sin,  Rom.  iii.  20.  Could  we  discover 
MD  without  some  law  ?  No :  For  I  had  not  known 
sin  bnt  by  the  law,  Rom.  vii.  7.  Is  the  transgression 
of  the  law  of  nature  sin?  Yes :  for  they  that  have 
^t  the  written  law,  show  the  work  of  the  law  written 
in  their  hearts,  Rom.  ii.  14, 15.  But  does  the  writ- 
^^  law  discover  the  root  of  sin  ?    Yes :  I  h&d  not 


known  lust,  except  the  law  had  said,  Thou  shalt  not 
covet,  Rom.  vii.  7. 

3.  Is  ignorance  of  God  sin  ?  Yes :  He  shall  take 
vengeance  on  them  that  know  not  God,  2  Thess.  i. 
8.  Is  disaffection  to  God's  government  sin  ?  Yes: 
My  people  would  not  hearken  to  my  voice,  and  Israel 
would  none  of  me,  Ps.  Ixxxi.  11.  Is  all  disobedi- 
ence to  God's  law  sin  ?  Yes :  For  the  wrath  of  God 
comes  upon  the  children  of  disobedience,  Col.  iii.  6. 
Is  it  a  sin  to  omit  the  good  which  God  has  com- 
manded? Yes :  for  to  him  that  knows  to  do  good, 
and  doth  it  not,  to  him  it  is  sin,  Jam.  iv.  17.  Is  it  a 
sin  to  do  it  negligently?  Yes :  for  if  thou  doest  not 
well,  sin  lies  at  the  door.  Gen.  iv.  7.  Is  it  a  sin  to 
do  the  evil  which  God  has  forbidden  ?  Yes :  for  he 
has  said,  O  do  not  this  abominable  thing  which  I 
hate,  Jer.  xliv.  4.  Is  the  inclination  to  evil  sin  ? 
Yes  t  for  St.  Paul  speaks  of  the  sin  that  dwells  in 
ns>  Rom.  vii.  17. 

4k  Is  sin  the  worst  of  evils  ?  Yes :  it  is  an  evil 
thing,  and  a  bitter,  to  forsake  the  Lord,  Jer.  ii.  19. 
Is  the  sinfulness  of  it  the  worst  thing  in  it?  Yes  i 
for  sin  by  the  conmiandment  becomes  exceeding 
sinful,  Rom.  vii.  13»  Is  sin  worse  than  affliction  ? 
Yes :  for  Moses  by  faith  chose  rather  to  suffer  affile^ 
tion  than  to  enjoy  the  pleasures  of  sin,  Heb.  xi.  25* 
Is  it  displeasing  to  God  ?  Yes:  God  is  angry  with 
the  wicked  every  day,  Ps^  vii.  11 «  Is  it  destructive 
to  ourselves  ?  Yes :  be  sure  your  sin  will  find  you 
out.  Numb,  xxxii.  23. 

5.  Ought  We  not  therefore  to  take  heed  of  sin  7 
Yes :  Stand  in  awe,  and  sin  not,  Ps.  iv.  4.  And  of 
all  appearances  of  it?  Yes:  abstain  from  all  ap- 
pearances of  evil,  I  Thess.  Vk  22^  And  all  approaches 
towards  it?  Yes:  Touch  not  the  unclean  things 
2  Cor.  vi.  17.  And  most  we  hate  it  ?  Yes :  Ye  that 
love  the  Lord,  hate  evil,  Ps.  xcvii.  10.  Must  little 
children  take  heed  of  sin  ?  Yes :  My  little  children^ 
these  things  write  I  unto  you,  that  ye  sin  not.  1  John 
ii.  1.  Is  it  folly  to  make  light  of  sin  ?  yA  fools 
make  a  mock  at  sin,  Prov.  xiv.  9.  Will  our  observ- 
ing the  law  of  God  be  the  best  preservative  against 
sin  ?  Yes :  Thy  word  have  I  hid  in  my  heart,  that 
I  might  not  sin  against  tliee,  Ps.  cxix.  11^  Will  an 
eye  to  God  be  the  best  argument  against  sin  ?  Yes : 
How  shall  I  do  this  great  wickedness,  and  sin  against 
God)  Gen.  xxxix.  9. 

Q.  15.  What  was  the  sin  whereby  our  first  parents 
fell  from  the  state  wherein  they  were  created  ? 

A.  The  sin  whereby  our  first  parents  fell  from  the 
state  wherein  they  were  created,  was  their  eating 
the  forbidden  fruit 

1.  0id  our  first  parents  eat  the  forbidden  fruit? 
Yes :  Thou  hast  eaten  of  the  tree  of  which  I  com- 
manded thee,  saying.  Thou  shalt  not  eat  of  it.  Gen. 
iii.  17.  Was  their  doing  so  disobedience?  Yes: 
for  it  was  by  one  man's  disobedience  that  many  were 


874 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


made  sinners,  Rom.  t.  19.  Did  the  woman  eat  for- 
bidden frait  first  ?  Yes :  the  woman  bein^^  deceived 
was  in  the  transgression,  1  Tim.  ii.  14.  Did  the  ser- 
pent tempt  her  to  it  ?  Yes :  the  serpent  beguiled  Eve 
through  his  subtilty,  2  Cor.  xi.  3.  Was  that  serpent 
the  devil?  Yes :  The  old  serpent  is  the  devil  and 
Satan,  Rev.  xx.  2.  Did  he  aim  to  make  man  as 
miserable  as  himself  ?  Yes :  he  wa3  a  murderer  from 
the  beginning,  John  viii.  44. 

2.  Did  the  tempter  teach  them  to  qaestion  the 
command  ?  Yes :  he  said  to  the  woman.  Hath  God 
said  ye  shall  not  eat?  Gen.  iii.  1.  Did  he  promise 
them  safety  in  sin?  Yes:  he  said,  Ye  shall  not 
sorely  die.  Gen.  iii.  4.  Did  he  promise  them  advan- 
tage by  the  sin  ?  Yes :  In  the  day  ye  eat  thereof 
your  eyes  shall  be  opened,  v.  5.  Did  he  feed  them 
with  high  thoughts  of  themselves?  Yes:  Ye  shall 
be  as  gods,  v.  5.  Did  he  suggest  to  them  hard 
thoughts  of  God  ?  Yes :  for  he  said,  God  doth  know 
this,  V.  5.  Did  Eve  do  well  to  parley  with  him? 
No:  for  we  should  cease  to  hear  the  instruction  that 
causeth  to  err  from  the  words  of  knowledge,  Prov. 
xix.  27. 

3.  Did  the  devil  prevail  in  the  temptation  ?  Yes : 
for  she  took  of  the  fruit,  and  did  eat,  and  gave  also 
to  her  husband  with  her,  and  he  did  eat.  Gen.  iii.  6. 
Was  there  in  this  sin  the  lust  of  the  flesh  ?  Yes : 
for  she  saw  that  the  tree  was  good  for  food.  Was 
there  in  it  the  lust  of  the  eye  ?  Yes :  for  she  saw 
that  it  was  pleasant  to  the  eyes.  And  the  pride  of 
life  ?  Yes :  for  she  saw  it  was  a  tree  to  be  desired 
to  make  one  wise.  Was  unbelief  of  the  word  of  God 
at  the  bottom  of  it?  Yea:  It  is  the  evil  heart  of' 
unbelief  that  departs  from  the  living  God,  Heb.  iii. 
12.  Was  there  in  it  an  opposition  to  the  divine  law? 
Yes:  for  sin  took  occasion  by  the  commandment, 
Rom.  vii.  8.  Was  dbobedience  in  a  small  matter  a 
great  provocation  ?  Yes :  for  rebellion  is  as  the  sin 
of  witchcraft,  and  stubbornness  is  iniquity  and  idol- 
atry, l4hm.  XV.  23.  If  Adam  fell  thus,  have  we 
any  reason  to  be  secure  ?  No :  Wherefore  let  him 
that  thinks  he  stands,  take  heed  lest  he  fall,  1  Cor. 
X.  12. 

Q.  16.  Did  all  mankind  fall  in  Adam* i  first  trans- 
grettion  ? 

A.  The  covenant  being  made  with  Adam,  not  only 
for  himself,  but  for  his  posterity,  all  mankind  de- 
scending from  him  by  ordinary  generation,  sinned 
in  him,  and  fell  with  him  in  his  first  transgression. 

1.  Are  we  concerned  in  our  first  parents'  disobe- 
dience? Yes :  for  by  the  offence  of  one,  judgment 
came  upon  ail  men  to  condemnation,  Rom.  v.  18. 
Were  we  in  their  loins  when  they  ate  the  forbidden 
fruit  ?  Yes :  for  Adam  called  his  wife's  name  Eve, 
because  she  was  the  mother  of  all  living,  Gen.  iii. 
20.  Was  Adam  a  common  father  ?  Yes :  for  he 
was  to  be  fruitful^  and  multiply,  and  replenish  the 


earth.  Gen.  i.  28.  Was  he  a  public  person  ?  Yes : 
for  he  was  the  figure  of  him  that  was  to  come,  Rora. 
V.  14.  Was  the  covenant  made  with  him,  and  bis 
posterity?  Yes:  for  God  always  established  his 
covenant  with  men,  and  with  their  seed  after  them. 
Gen.  ix.  9. 

2.  Was  Adam's  sin  our  ruin  then?  Yes:  for 
through  the  offence  of  one  many  are  dead,  Rom.  v. 
16.  Was  the  honour  of  human  nature  thereby  stain- 
ed? Yes:  for  Adam  begat  a  son  in  his  own  like- 
ness, Gen.  V.  3.  Was  the  power  of  the  human  nature 
thereby  weakened?  Yes :  for  when  we  were  with- 
out strength,  Christ  died  for  us,  Rom.  v,  6.  Was 
the  purity  of  it  thereby  corrupted  ?  Yes :  for  in  as, 
that  is,  in  oar  flesh,  there  dwells  no  good  thing, 
Rom.  vii.  18.  Was  Adam  himself  degenerated  ? 
Yes :  for  God  said  to  him.  Dust  thou  art.  Gen.  iii. 
19.  And  are  we  in  like  manner  degenerated  ?  Yes : 
for  we  have  all  borne  the  image  of  the  earthy,  1  Cor. 
XV.  49. 

3.  Is  this  degeneracy  universal?  Yes:  for  all 
flesh  hath  corrupted  his  way.  Gen.  vi.  12.  Did  our 
Lord  Jesus  descend  from  Adam  by  ordinary  genera- 
tion? No :  for  he  is  the  Lord  from  heaven,  I  Cor. 
XV.  47.  Did  he  then  sin  in  Adam  ?  No :  for  he  is 
undefiled,  separate  from  sinners,  Heb.  vii.  26.  Did 
all  the  rest  of  mankind  sin  in  Adam  ?  Yes :  for  how 
can  he  be  clean  that  is  born  of  a  woman  ?  Job  xx  v. 
4.  Are  the  ways  of  the  Lord  herein  equal  ?  Yes : 
but  our  ways  are  unequal,  Ezek.  xviii.  29. 

Q.  17.  Into  what  state  did  the  fall  bring  mankind  ? 
A.  The  fall  brought  mankind  into  a  state  of  sin 
and  misery. 

1.  Is  mankind  in  a  state  of  sin?  Yes:  for  both 
Jews  and  Gentiles  are  ail  under  sin,  Rom.  iii.  9.  Is 
a  state  of  sin  a  sad  state  ?  Yes :  for  they  that  are 
in  the  flesh  cannot  please  God,  Rom.  viii.  8.  Did 
the  fall  bring  us  into  a  state  of  sin  ?  Yes :  for  by  it 
many  were  made  sinners,  Rom.  v.  19.  Does  the 
world  continue  in  that  state  ?  Yes :  for  the  whole 
world  lies  in  wickedness,  1  John  y.  19.  And  are 
you  by  nature  in  that  state  ?  Yes :  if  I  justify  my- 
self, my  own  mouth  shall  condemn  me.  Job  ix.  20. 

2.  Is  mankind  in  a  state  of  misery  ?  Yes :  the 
misery  of  man  is  great  upon  him,  Eccl.  viii.  6.  Is  sin 
the  cause  of  all  that  misery  ?  Yes :  for  death  entered 
by  sin,  and  so  death  passed  upon  all  men,  Rom. 
V.  12.  Is  misery  the  consequence  of  sin  ?  Yes :  for 
evil  pursues  sinners,  Prov.  xiii.  21.  Do  all  the  crea- 
tures share  in  the  sad  effects  of  sin  ?  Yes :  cursed 
is  the  ground  for  thy  sake.  Gen.  iii.  17.  And  could 
all  this  mischief  come  from  that  one  sin  ?  Yes :  for 
how  great  a  matter  does  a  little  fire  kindle,  James 
iii.  5,  6. 

3.  Did  the  fall  bring  mankind  into  a  state  of  apos- 
tasy from  God  ?  Yes :  for  they  arc  all  gone  aside, 
Ps.  xiv.  3.    Is  that  a  sinful  state  ?    Yes :  for  it  is 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


875 


freat  wboredom  to  depart  from  the  Lord,  Hos.  i.  2. 
ADd  is  it  a  miserable  state  ?  Yes :  Woe  onto  them, 
for  they  have  fled  from  me,  Hos.  irii.  13. 

4.  Did  the  fall  bring  mankind  into  a  state  of  sla- 
vey to  Satan  ?  Tes :  for  they  are  taken  captive  by 
him  at  his  will,  2  Tim.  ii.  26.  Is  that  a  sinful  state? 
Yes :  for  the  prince  of  the  power  of  the  air  works 
in  the  children  of  disobedience,  Eph.  ii.  2.  Is  it  a 
miserable  state  ?  Yes :  for  the  God  of  this  world 
hath  blinded  their  minds,  2  Cor.  iv.  4.  Is  it  like 
the  condition  of  the  prodigal  son  ?  Yes :  for  he  went 
into  a  far  country,  wasted  his  sabstance,  began  to 
be  in  want,  and  was  sent  into  the  fields  to  feed  swine, 
Lake  xt.  13 — 16. 

Q.  18.  Wkerein  eonsiiU  the  iinfiUnesi  of  that  state 
viereinto  man  fell  ? 

A.  The  sinfulness  of  that  state  whereinto  man  fell 
consists  in  the  guilt  of  Adam's  first  sin,  the  want  of 
original  righteonsness,  and  the  corruption  of  his 
whole  nature,  (which  is  commonly  called  original 
sin,)  together  with  all  actual  transgressions  which 
proceed  from  it 

1.  Are  we  all  bom  under  guilt?  Yes :  for  all  the 
world  is  guilty  before  God,  Rom.  iii.  19.  Does  the 
vbole  race  of  mankind  stand  attainted  at  God's  bar? 
Yes:  for  the  Scripture  hath  concluded  all  under 
sin.  Gal.  iii.  22.  Is  this  according  to  God's  rule  of 
jod^ent  ?  Yes :  for  he  Tisiteth  the  iniquity  of  the 
faUiers  upon  the  children,  Exod.  xx.  5.  Is  not  God 
unrighteous  who  thus  takes  yengeance  ?  No :  God 
forbid,  for  then  how  shall  God  judge  the  world, 
Rom.  iii.  6. 

2.  Are  we  all  bom  in  sin  ?  Yes :  Behold,  I  was 
shapen  in  iniquity,  and  in  sin  did  my  mother  con- 
ceive me.  Pa.  Ii.  5.  Are  we  of  a  sinful  brood  ?  Yes : 
for  we  are  a  seed  of  eviMoers,  Isa.  i.  4.  May  we 
be  truly  called  sinners  by  nature?  Yes:  Thou 
wast  called  a  transgressor  from  the  womb,  Isa. 
xlviii.  8. 

3.  Is  there  in  erery  one  of  us  by  nature  the  want 
of  original  righteousness  ?  Yes :  there  is  none  right- 
eous, no,  not  one,  Rom.  iii.  10.  Is  there  in  us  an 
tvenion  to  that  which  is  good  ?  Yes :  for  the  carnal 
nind  is  enmity  against  God,  Rom.  viii.  7.  Is  there 
to  OS  a  moral  impotency  to  that  which  is  good  ? 
Tes:  for  the  carnal  mind  is  not  in  subjection  to  the 
law  of  God,  neither  indeed  can  be,  Rom.  viii.  7. 
Can  we  of  ourselves  do  any  thing  that  is  good  ? 
No:  for  we  are  not  sufllcient  of  ourselves  to  think 
aoy  thing  as  of  ourselves,  2  Cor.  iii.  6. 

4.  Is  there  in  us  a  proneness  to  that  which  is  evil  ? 
Tfs :  My  people  are  bent  to  backsliding  from  me. 
Hoi.  xi,  7.  Are  there  the  snares  of  sin  in  our  bodies  ? 
Yes:  for  there  is  a  law  in  the  members  warring 
afainat  the  law  of  the  mind,  Rom.  vii.  23.  And  are 
tbere  the  seeds  of  sin  in  our  souls?  Yes:  For  when 
I  would  do  goody  evil  is  present  with  me,  Rom.  vii. 


21.  And  is  the  stain  of  sin  upon  both?  Yes:  for 
all  have  sinned,  and  come  short  of  the  glory  of  God, 
Rom.  iii.  23. 

5.  Did  we  all  bring  sin  into  the  world  with  us? 
Yes :  for  man  is  born  like  the  wild  ass's  colt,  Job 
xi.  12.  Is  it  in  little  children  ?  Yes :  for  foolishness 
is  in  the  heart  of  a  child,  Prov.  xxii.  16.  As  reason 
improves,  does  sin  grow  up  with  it?  Yes:  for  when 
the  blade  is  sprang  up,  then  appear  the  tares  also^ 
Matt.  xiii.  26.  Is  it  not  a  wonder  of  mercy  then 
that  we  are  any  of  us  alive  ?  Yes :  it  is  of  the  Lord's 
mercies  that  we  are  not  consumed,  Lam.  iii.  22. 

6.  Is  the  whole  nature  of  man  corrapted  by  the 
fall  ?  Yes :  The  whole  head  is  sick,  and  the  whole 
heart  is  faint,  Isa.  i.  5.  Is  the  understanding  cor- 
rapted ?  Yes :  the  understanding  is  darkened,  be- 
ing alienated  from  the  life  of  God,  Eph.  iv.  18.  Is 
that  unapt  to  admit  the  rays  of  divine  light  ?  Yes : 
for  they  are  spiritually  discerned,  1  Cor.  ii.  14.  Is 
the  vrill  corrupted?  Yes:  The  neck  is  an  iron 
sinew,  Isa.  xlviii.  4.  And  is  that  unapt  to  submit 
to  the  rale  of  the  divine  law  ?  Yes :  For  what  is 
the  Almighty  (say  they)  that  we  should  serve  him  ? 
Job  xxi.  15.  Are  the  thoughts  corrapted  ?  Yes : 
for  the  imagination  of  man's  heart  is  evil  from  his 
youth.  Gen.  viii.  21.  Is  the  fancy  full  of  vanity  ? 
Yes:  vain  thoughts  lodge  within  us,  Jer.  iv.  16. 
Are  the  affections  corrapted  ?  Yes :  It  is  a  carnal 
mind,  Rom.  viii.  7.  Is  conscience  itself  corrapted  ? 
Yes :  even  the  mind  and  conscience  is  defiled.  Tit. 
i.  16.  Is  the  whole  soul  corrapted?  Yes:  the 
heart  is  deceitful  above  all  things,  Jer.  xvii.  9. 

7.  Is  this  corraption  of  the  mind  sin  ?  Yes :  for 
it  is  enmity  agianst  God,  Rom.  viii.  7.  Have  we  it 
from  our  original  ?  Yes :  for  that  which  is  bom  of 
the  flesh  is  flesh,  John  iii.  6.  Do  we  derive  it  through 
our  parents?  Yes :  for  who  can  bring  a  clean  thing 
out  of  an  unclean  ?  Job  xiv.  4.  Does  it  render  us 
odious  to  God's  holiness?  Yes:  for  the  foolish 
shall  not  stand  in  his  sight,  Ps.  v.  6.  Does  it  render 
us  obnoxious  to  his  justice  ?  Yes  :  for  death  reigns 
over  them  that  have  not  sinned  after  the  similitude 
of  Adam's  transgressions,  Rodil  v.  14. 

8.  Does  this  original  corraption  produce  actual 
transgression  ?  Yes  :  for  a  corrapt  tree  cannot 
bring  forth  good  fruit.  Matt.  vii.  18.  Does  it  pro- 
duce it  betimes?  Yes :  for  the  wicked  are  estranged 
from  the  womb,  they  go  astray  as  soon  as  they  are 
bom,  speaking  lies,  Ps.  Iviii.  3.  Does  it  produce  it 
naturally  ?  Yes :  as  a  fountain  casteth  out  her  waters, 
Jer.  vi.  7.  Does  all  sin  begin  in  the  heart?  Yes : 
for  when  lust  hath  conceived,  it  bringeth  forth  sin, 
James  i.  16.  Is  it  not  necessary  therefore  we  should 
have  a  new  nature  ?  Yes :  Marvel  not  that  I  said 
unto  you,  Ye  must  be  bom  again,  John  iii.  7.  Can 
we  get  to  heaven  without  it  ?  No :  for  flesh  and 
blood  cannot  inherit  the  kingdom  of  God,  1  Cor 
XV.  60. 


876 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


Q.  19.  What  t#  the  mitery  of  that  estate  whereinto 
man  fell  f 

A.  All  mankind  by  their  fall  lost  communion  with 
God,  are  under  bis  wrath  and  curse,  and  so  made 
liable  to  all  the  miseries  of  this  life,  to  death  itself, 
and  to  the  pains  of  bell  for  ever. 

1.  When  our  first  parents  had  eaten  the  forbidden 
fruit,  did  they  become  as  gods?  No:  they  were 
like  the  beasts  that  perish,  Ps.  xlix.  12.  Did  the 
devil  make  his  words  good  then  ?  No :  for  he  is  a 
liar,  and  the  father  of  it,  John  viii.  44.  Did  not  he 
put  a  cheat  upon  them  ?  Yes :  the  woman  said,  the 
serpent  beguiled  me,  Gen.  iii.  13.  Did  shame  come 
in  with  sin  ?  Yes :  for  they  knew  that  they  were 
naked.  Gen.  iii.  7.  Did  fear  come  in  with  sin  ? 
Yes :  for  they  hid  themselves  from  the  presence  of 
the  Lord  God  among  the  trees  of  the  garden.  Gen. 
iii.  8.  Was  not  that  their  misery  ?  Yes :  for  fear 
hath  torment,  1  John  iv.  18. 

2.  Did  they  lose  communion  with  God?  Yes: 
for  he  drove  out  the  man.  Gen.  iii.  524.  Is  fallen 
man  unworthy  of  communion  with  God  ?  Yes :  for 
what  communion  has  light  with  darkness  ?  2  Cor. 
ii.  14.  Is  be  unfit  for  communion  with  God  ?  Yes : 
for  can  two  walk  together  except  they  be  agreed  ? 
Amos  iii.  3.  Could  fallen  man  ever  get  to  heaven 
by  virtue  of  the  covenant  of  innocency  ?  No :  for 
tsherubims  and  a  flaming  sword  were  set  to  keep 
that  way  to  the  tree  of  life.  Gen.  iii.  24. 

3.  Is  fallen  man  under  God's  wrath  ?  Yes :  for 
the  wrath  of  God  is  revealed  from  heaven,  against 
M  ungodliness  and  unrighteousness  of  men,  Rom. 
i.  18.  Are  we  all  so  by  nature  ?  Yes :  we  are  by 
nature  children  of  wrath,  even  as  others,  Eph.  ii.  2. 
Are  we  so  by  reason  of  sin  ?  Yes :  for  because  of 
these  things  cometh  the  wrath  of  God  upon  the  chil- 
dren of  disobedience,  Eph.  v.  6.  Is  there  a  distance 
between  Gt)d  and  man  by  reason  of  sin  ?  Yes:  your 
iniquities  have  separated  'between  you  and  your 
God,  Isa.  lix.  2.  Is  there  a  quarrel  between  God 
^nd  man  by  reason  of  sin  ?  Yes :  My  soul  loathed 
them,  and  their  soul  also  it  abhorred  me,  Zech.  xi.  8. 
Is  it  not  sad  to  lie  under  God's  wratb  ?  Yes :  for 
who  knows  the  power  of  his  anger  ?  Ps.  xc.  11. 

4.  Is  fallen  man  under  God's  curse  ?  Yes :  for 
cursed  is  every  one  that  continues  not  in  all  things 
which  are  written  in  the  book  of  the  law  to  do  them, 
Gai.  iii.  10.  Is  this  curse  in  force  against  all  wick- 
ed people  ?  Yes :  the  curse  of  the  Lord  is  in  the 
house  of  the  wicked,  Prov.  iii.  33.  Has  sin  brought 
a  curse  upon  the  world  ?  Yes :  Cursed  is  the  ground 
for  thy  sake,  Gen.  iii.  17. 

6.  Is  mankind  by  the  fall  become  liable  to  the 
miseries  of  this  life  ?  Yes :  In  sorrow  shalt  thou 
eat  of  it  all  the  days  of  thy  life.  Gen.  iii.  17.  Are 
we  all  by  nature  liable  to  these  miseries  ?  Yes : 
for  man  is  born  to  trouble.  Job  v.  7.    Is  all  the 


hurtfulness  of  the  creatures  the  effect  of  sin  ?  Yes: 
Thorns  and  thistles  shall  it  bring  forth.  Gen.  liL  lb. 
Is  the  toil  of  business  the  effect  of  sin  ?  Yes :  In 
the  sweat  of  thy  face  shalt  thou  eat  bread,  v.  19.  Is 
pain  and  sickness  the  effect  of  sin  t  Yes :  There  is 
not  any  rest  in  my  bones,  because  of  my  sin,  Ps. 
xxxviii.  3.  Are  all  our  crosses  the  effect  of  sin  ? 
Yes :  our  sins  have  withholden  good  things  from 
us,  Jer.  V.  25.  Should  we  not  therefore  bear  them 
patiently?  Yes:  Wherefore  doth  a  living  man 
complain,  a  man  for  the  punishment  of  his  sin  ? 
Lam.  iii.  39. 

6.  Is  all  mankind  by  the  fall  become  liable  to 
death  itself?  Yes:  for  so  death  passed  upon  all 
men,  for  that  all  have  sinned,  Rom.  v.  12.  Was  a 
sentence  of  death  immediately  passed  upon  fallen 
man  ?  Yes :  Dust  thou  art,  and  to  dust  shalt  thou 
return,  Gen.  iii.  19.  Do  we  all  deserve  death  ?  Yes : 
the  wages  of  sin  is  death,  Rom.  vi.  23.  Is  it  the 
natural  consequence  of  sin?  Yes:  for  sin,  when 
it  is  finished,  brings  forth  death.  Jam.  i.  15.  Can 
any  avoid  it?  No :  What  man  is  he  that  livetb  and 
shall  not  see  death?  Ps.  Ixxxix.  48.  Is  it  deter- 
mined ?  Yes :  it  is  appointed  to  men  once  to  die, 
Heb.  ix.  27.  Do  you  expect  it?  Yes :  I  know  that 
thou  wilt  bring  me  to  death,  Job  xxx.  23.  Is  sin 
the  sting  of  death  ?  Yes :  the  sting  of  death  is  sin, 
1  Cor.  XV.  56.  Is  the  amazing  fear  of  death  the 
effect  of  sin  ?  Yes :  there  are  those  who  through 
fear  of  death  are  all  their  life-time  subject  to  bond- 
age, Heb.  ii.  15.  Is  the  body's  rotting  in  the  grave 
the  effect  of  sin  ?  Yes  :  as  drought  and  heat  con- 
sume the  snow-waters,  so  doth  the  grave  those  which 
have  sinned.  Job  xxiv.  19. 

7.  Is  mankind  by  the  fall  become  liable  to  the 
pains  of  hell  for  ever?  Yes:  for  he  that  wanders 
out  of  the  way  of  understanding  shall  remain  in  the 
congregation  of  the  dead,  Prov.  xxi.  16.  Ps.  ix.  17. 
Can  God  make  a  soul  for  ever  miserable?  Yes: 
for  after  he  hath  killed  he  hath  power  to  cast  into 
hell,  Luke  xii.  5.  Is  there  a  state  of  punishment  in 
the  other  life  ?  Yes :  for  we  are  warned  to  flee  from 
the  wrath  to  come.  Matt  iii.  7.  Is  it  the  desert  of 
sin  ?  Yes :  for  when  God  renders  to  every  man  ac- 
cording to  his  works,  he  will  render  indignation  and 
wrath,  tribulation  and  anguish,  upon  every  soul  of 
man  that  doeth  evil,  Rom.  ii.  8,  9.  Will  it  be  the 
portion  of  impenitent  sinners?  Yes:  Ye  generation 
of  vipers,  how  can  ye  escape  the  damnation  of 
hell.  Matt,  xxiii.  33. 

8.  Is  hell  the  wrath  of  an  everlasting  God  ?  Yes: 
for  the  breath  of  the  Lord,  like  a  stream  of  brim- 
stone, doth  kindle  it,  Isa.  xxx.  33.  Is  it  tiie  an- 
guish of  an  immortal  soul  ?  Yes  :  for  their  worm 
dieth  not,  Mark  ix.  44.  Is  any  way  of  relief  open 
to  them  ?  No :  Betwixt  us  and  you  there  is  a  gulf 
fixed,  Luke  xvi.  26.  Is  their  punishment  thereforei 
everlasting?    Yes :  These  shall  go  away  into  evei^' 


A  SCRIPTURE  CATECHISM. 


877 


lasting  panishment.  Matt.  xxv.  46.  Should  we  not 
every  one  of  as  dread  it  ?  Yes  :  for  it  is  a  fearful 
thing  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  living  God,  Heb. 
X.  31.  Isa.  xxxiii.  14. 

Q.  20.  Did  God  leave  all  mankind  to  perish  in  the 
state  of  ain  and  misery  ? 

A.  God  having  out  of  his  mere  good  pleasure  from 
all  eternity  elected  some  to  eternal  life,  did  enter  into 
a  covenant  of  grace,  to  deliver  them  out  of  a  state 
of  sin  and  misery,  and  to  bring  them  into  a  state  of 
salvation  by  a  Redeemer. 

1.  Migfat  not  God  justly  hftve  left  all  mankind  to 
perish  in  their  fallen  state  ?  Yes :  for  in  bis  sight 
shall  no  man  living  be  justified,  Ps.  cxliii.  2.  Would 
God  have  been  a  loser  by  it,  if  they  had  been  left  to 
perish  ?  No :  for,  can  a  man  be  profitable  to  God  ? 
Job  xxii.  2.  But  did  he  leave  them  to  perish }  No : 
for  the  kindness  and  love  of  God  our  Saviour  towards 
man  appears.  Tit.  iii.  4.  Was  the  case  of  fallen 
angels  helpless  and  desperate  ?  Yes  :  for  God  spared 
not  them,  2  Pet.  ii.  4.  But  is  the  case  of  fallen  man 
so  >  No :  for  he  is  long-suffering  to  us- ward,  not 
willing  that  any  should  perish,  2  Pet.  iii.  9.  Is  God's 
patience  a  token  for  good  ?  Yes :  the  long-suffering 
of  our  Lord  is  salvation,  2  Pet.  iii.  15.  Does  it  ap- 
pear that  God  has  a  good  will  to  man's  salvation  ? 
Yes :  As  I  live,  saith  the  Lord  God,  I  have  no  plea- 
sure in  the  death  of  the  wicked,  but  tiiat  he  turn  and 
live,  Ezek.  xxxiiv  11-  Is  this  an  encouragement  to 
as  all  to  hope  in  his  mercy  ?  Yes :  for  if  the  Lord 
had  been  pleased  to  kill  us,  he  would  nothave  showed 
US  such  things  as  these,  Jndg.  xiii.  23. 

2.  Conld  man  help  himself  out  of  his  state  of  sin 
and  misery  ?  No :  for  when  we  were  without  streng^ 
Christ  died  for  the  ungodly,  Rom.  v.  6.  Could  any 
ereatare  help  us }  No :  for  none  of  them  can  by  any 
means  redeem  his  brother,  Ps.  xlix.  7.  Could  God 
himself  only  help  us  ?  Yes  :  O  Israel !  thou  hast 
destroyed  thyself,  but  in  me  is  thy  help,  Hos.  xiii.  9. 
Did  God  contrive  a  way  for  man's  recovery  ?  Yes : 
be  hath  devised  means  that  his  banished  may  not  be 
expelled  from  him,  2  Sam.  xiv.  14.  Was  it  the  con- 
trivance of  infinite  wisdom }  Yes :  it  is  the  wisdom 
of  God  in  a  mystery,  ordained  before  the  world  for 
oar  glory,  1  Cor.  ii.  7.  Has  he  provided  a  way  for 
oar  recovery  ?  Yes :  I  have  found  a  ransom,  Job 
xxxiii.  24. 

3.  Did  God  particularly  design  the  salvation  of  a 
remnant  of  mankind }  Yes :  there  is  a  remnant  ac- 
cording to  the  election  of  grace,  Rom.  xi.  5.  Are 
there  some  whom  God  has  chosen  ?  Yes :  God  hath 
from  the  beginning  chosen  you  to  salvation,  through 
sancti6cation  of  the  spirit,  2  Thes.  ii.  13.  Is  there 
a  certain  number  of  such  ?  Yes :  for  their  names 
are  in  the  book  of  life,  Phil.  iv.  3.  Rev.  xiii.  8.  Were 
they  chosen  from  eternity  ?  Yes  :  he  hath  chosen 
as  in  him  before  the  foundation  of  the  world,  Eph. 


I.  4,  Were  they  chosen  for  the  sake  of  any  thing  in 
themselves  ?  No :  Ye  have  not  chosen  me,  but  I  have 
chosen  you,  John  xv.  16.  But  of  his  mere  good 
pleasure  ?  Yes :  he  hath  predestinated  us  according 
to  the  good  pleasure  of  his  will,  Eph.  i.  5.  Were 
they  chosen  to  salvation  as  the  end }  Yes :  God  had 
appointed  us  to  obtain  salvation,  1  Thess.  v.  9.  And 
to  sanctification  as  the  means  ?  Yes :  he  has  chosen 
us  that  we  should  be  holy,  Eph.  i.  4.  Was  it  for 
the  glory  of  God  ?  Yes :  that  he  might  make  known 
the  riches  of  his  glory  on  the  vessels  of  mercy,  Rom. 
ix.  23. 

4.  Shall  the  election  obtain  ?  Yes :  the  purpose 
of  God  according  to  election  shall  stand,  Rom.  ix. 

II.  Does  our  salvation  begin  there  ?  Yes :  we  love 
him,  because  he  first  loved  us,  1  John  iv.  19.  Are 
others  passed  by?  Yes:  when  the  election  hath 
obtained,  the  rest  are  blinded,  Rom.  xi.  7.  Does 
God  know  certainly  whom  he  has  chosen  ?  Yes : 
the  Lord  knows  them  that  are  his,  2  Tim.  ii.  19.  Do 
we  know  it  ?  No :  for  secret  things  belong  not  to 
us,  Deut  xxix.  29.  Can  we  know  our  own  election 
otherwise  than  by  our  being  sanctified  ?  No :  we 
must  make  our  calling,  and  so  make  our  election, 
sure,  2  Pet  i.  10. 

6.  Were  the  elect  given  to  Christ  ?  Yes :  Thine 
they  were,  and  thou  gavest  them  me,  John  xvii.  6. 
Did  be  undertake  their  salvation  ?  Yes :  For  this  is 
the  Father's  will,  that  of  all  which  he  hath  given  me 
I  should  lose  nothing,  John  vi.  39.  Was  it  promised 
him  that  he  should  effect  it  ?  Yes :  He  shall  see  his 
seed,  and  the  pleasure  of  the  Lord  shall  prosper  in 
his  hand,  Isa.  liii.  10.  And  was  he  himself  assured 
of  it?  Yes:  All  that  the  Father  giveth  me,  shall 
come  to  me,  John  vi.  37.  And  does  it  always  prove 
so  ?  Yes :  As  many  as  were  ordained  to  eternal  life 
believed,  Acts  xiii.  48.  And  shall  any  of  them  mis- 
carry ?  No :  for  it  is  said  of  seducers,  they  shall 
deceive,  if  it  were  possible,  the  very  elect,  Matt, 
xxiv.  24. 

6.  Has  God  entered  into  a  new  covenant,  pursuant 
hereto  ?  Yes :  for  we  are  not  under  the  law,  but 
under  grace,  Rom.  vi.  14.  Does  he  insist  upon  the 
terms  of  the  first  covenant  ?  No :  he  hath  not  dealt 
with  us  after  our  sins,  Ps.  ciii.  10.  Is  he  willing  to 
deal  with  us  upon  new  terms  ?  Yes  :  I  will  make 
a  new  covenant  with  them,  Jer.  xxxi.  31.  Is  he  will- 
ing to  be  ours  in  covenant  ?  Yes :  I  will  be  to  them 
a  God,  Heb.  viii.  10.  Will  he  accept  us  as  his  ? 
Yes :  they  shall  be  to  me  a  people.  And  will  he  be 
at  peace  with  us  ?  Yes  :  God  was  in  Christ,  recon- 
ciling the  world  unto  himself,  2  Cor.  v.  19. 

7.  Is  this  wrought  out  by  a  Redeemer  ?  Yes :  for 
there  is  not  salvation  in  any  other.  Acts  iv.  12.  Was 
that  Redeemer  of  God's  own